News - Subaru
Entire Subaru model range now available online
Users now able to buy Subarus online with dealers to prep, deliver, accept trade-ins
7 Sep 2018
By TUNG NGUYEN
SUBARU Australia has become the first mainstream marque to offer its entire model line-up to purchase via its online ‘Build and Buy’ tool, but dealers will still be involved to prepare and accept trade-ins.
Speaking to journalists at the launch of the new-generation Forester, Subaru Australia managing director Colin Christie said the online purchasing suite is designed to offer customers more freedom, not to cut out dealers.
“The reason we implemented the online approach is purely one option in a group of many, so we now have mobile test driving, we’re about to move to mobile sales, we have online, we have in-store, we have pop-ups at events and in shopping centres, etcetera,” he said.
“(Subaru) ‘do’ was all about giving customers the options they choose to take, so there are customers out there that prefer to use an online process, so we’ve provided that solution to them.”
While Mr Christie conceded that the online buying portal will have set driveaway prices and no room to haggle, he also said that dealers will still accept trade-ins of older vehicles.
“Basically we advertise the car and you transact with Subaru Australia, then the dealer delivers it, so the price that we advertise is a set price, which is effectively the driveaway price for that car,” he said.
“There is a trade-in process that happens as part of that as well, so we can facilitate the trade-in, and that trade-in happens directly with the dealer.
“When a customer chooses whatever dealer it happens to be … they choose them as their delivering dealer and there’s a trade-in process that happens.”
Having first launched in 2012 with the introduction of the BRZ, Subaru’s online buying tool has since expanded to its WRX STI in 2013, as well as the Impreza and XV last year.
Now however, each of Subaru’s models can be purchased online, including the just-launched Forester, Outback large SUV, Liberty sedan, Levorg wagon and WRX sportscar.
Mr Christie said the expanded online purchasing options are a natural extension of Subaru’s ‘do’ marketing campaign, and that the early BRZ buying process paved the way.
“We launched the BRZ to test the online sales process, but we also didn’t have enough cars come in to the country to actually share them with the entire network, so we were sold out 18 months in advance when we launched that car just because of stock restriction,” he said.
“Ultimately, the build process is what we focussed on, so we wanted customers to go in on their own time and build and engage with cars and change specification … get some quotes for financing if they wanted to, get some quotes for trade-ins if they wanted to, and then ultimately engage to the transaction however they choose to.
“So the online sale process was more to test the theory.”
Mr Christie said the online ordering system is not designed to supplant dealers, but instead give customers more freedom with how they would like to transact, similar to its shopping centre retail and servicing activities.
“To be honest … at the moment what we’re doing is testing elements of concepts, so we’re testing to see if a customer will walk into a shopping centre and buy a car, we’re testing to see if they will service (at a shopping centre),” he said.
“We don’t want to limit the thinking around what we ultimately want to achieve, all we’re trying to do is create a multitude of options for customers to choose how they want to.
“We just want to be able to have a full suite of tools and interactions, and the customer moves however they want to.”
Subaru Australia customers are averaging 15,500 builds a month this year, and the purchasing option simply allows users to complete transactions online.
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