With the partial closing of physical points of sales (POS) due to COVID-19, online sales channels have become more important than ever for OEMs. BearingPoint analyzed the online offerings of leading OEMs in the USA, Europe, and China and evaluated their online sales readiness, identified leading practices, and derived recommended actions.

In 30 seconds

  • Assessed markets: US, CHN, DE, UK, IT, FR, ES
  • Focus on: new car online sales
  • OEM stores only
  • Top 10 OEMs in sales plus selected manufacturers with online shops considered
  • Number of brands assessed = 91 in 7 markets

Key Insights

  • Tesla provided the leading practice in all assessed markets.
  • The UK and China prove to be the markets with the largest number and highest maturity of online shops.
  • German OEMs tend to avoid their home market and instead have offers in the UK and China.
  • Besides Tesla, the online sales experience of US manufacturers scores poorly.
  • Not only premium OEMs top the ranking, but also volume OEMs provide very mature online shops.
  • Online sales processes differ from market to market.
  • No pattern was found to suggest that premium OEMs provide more mature stores than volume OEMs.

Study results

Various OEMs already provide mature online shops, and several patterns emerged from the analysis. There are correlations between buying processes and markets in terms of complexity, process duration, and dealership involvement. The study also showed large numbers of online shop offerings with high service maturity in China and the UK.

Despite being one of the largest car and online sales markets globally, the USA did not prove to be a market with many online shops for new cars. While the German market is in an emerging phase with numerous shops available and growing, only a few online shops are available in Italy, France, and Spain. Those markets are not considered as markets with high online sales maturity.

It is worth mentioning that only one manufacturer has an online shop in all assessed markets: Tesla, which also scores highest in every market. The UK market proved to be a designated pilot market, with many OEMs already having mature shops exclusively there. Many OEMs avoid their home market but show mature services abroad, mostly in the Chinese market. It is noticeable that not only Chinese OEMs are providing the leading practices in their home market, but also foreign manufacturers do.

The maturity of online shops does not correlate with the car segment the OEM is active in, and the study found that both volume and premium OEMs can provide high scoring online shops. While volume and premium OEMs have specific strengths in different areas, there are white spots in some areas where none of them provides a leading practice.

Transforming your automotive sales – recommendations

There are several key steps you can take to digitize your sales structures, bring them online, and connect with your customers, all while providing the same high-quality service that automotive sales rely on.

  • Quickly create or mature your online sales journey – through information-gathering, to purchase, fulfilment, then usage – adapting your product offering and processes in a customer-centric way that allows rapid success. Produce a seamlessly designed, end-to-end sales process that allows your customers to progress through the entire customer journey online, without the need to switch channels.
  • Ensure that your online purchase processes mirror your current offline purchase processes as closely as possible, thus providing a similarly positive and empowering customer experience.
  • Replicate your brand through the use of innovative touchpoints such as virtual and augmented reality to provide immersive, emotional experiences that transport the customer into the driving seat.
  • Download the Benchmark Study: Online car sales
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