BMW has been teasing us for years with an Amazon-line experience when buying a car online. There were a few attempts in Asia to put in place such a process, but none at a global scale. Tesla made famous the online car buying process and automakers are starting to adapt. One of them is the BMW Group Russia which just announced their new digital offerings which includes an e-commerce component to purchase a new BMW.

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The entire process of buying a car – from model selection, to choosing the options and features, payment and loan approval, to estimating the value of the car to be traded in – is being made fully available online. Some dealerships are also offering an option to deliver the car to the address provided by the customer.

The full functionality has already been implemented on BMW Group dealerships’ websites across Russia, and will be coming to bmw.ru by the end of April.

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The new online service makes it possible not only to pick the model, features and options, but also to make a down payment, and, if the customer should choose this option, pay for the purchase in full. The dealerships determine the amount of online down payment and whether the full payment option is available. After the payment is transferred to the selected dealership, its agents will contact the customer to finalize the details and prepare the car for transfer to its new owner.

Buyers can make a down payment or pay for the purchase of their new vehicle in full by banking card or via Apple Pay and Google Pay online payment systems.

“We as a company are doing everything in our power to offer our customers a premium service and the most innovative solutions, especially during these difficult times. From now on, you can complete the whole process of a BMW vehicle purchase online. Buyers have access to the full BMW model lineup and a full range of payment options. Now you can also submit a loan application and get approval without leaving your home.

Is online ordering the future of car buying?

While we working on getting this online tool ready for release, we encountered some challenges, including some legal obstacles. Substantial extra effort and new solutions are currently required to make this process customer-friendly and economically viable for the vendor. This is why we welcome and appreciate Russian President Vladimir Putin’s directive to make changes to the laws to support remote sales of vehicles, given during the meeting on the automotive industry on April 24.,” says Stefan Teuchert, President and CEO of BMW Group Russia.

In times when unexpected events – like COVID-19 – take over the world, the in-person car buying process is not feasible. And while a hands-on approach with the car and a knowledgeable sales person is always preferable, there are ways to make the online experience fairly personal.

For example, BMW Russia will offer a video consultation with a BMW expert from the dealer who can work with the buyer on the customization process.

Digitization of a car purchase makes it essential for the buyer to visit the dealership website. To make the car buying experience easier and smoother, the following services have been implemented on the websites of all the BMW Group Russia authorized dealerships:

Furthermore, BMW experts will also answer customers’ questions over the phone and by email, provide remote consultations, and help to select a car through a video call.

Here is an outline of the process:

Step 1

The customer selects a car and desired options available for the specific car model on the BMW dealership website in the BMW Available section, which shows the status of available vehicles (in the warehouse, in transit, or on the assembly line). We expect this functionality also to be available on www.bmw.ru, uniting all dealerships into a single system, from around April 30, 2020.

Step 2

While making a purchase, the customer can make a down payment, or pay for the car purchase in full. It is up to the dealerships to set the size of down payment.

Step 3

A dealership representative contacts the customer to finalize the order information and delivery details.

Step 4

When only a partial down payment has been made, and delivery to the customer’s address is required, the customer can pay the full purchase price online or use a car loan program available through the BMW Bank.

Step 5

The dealership delivers to the car to the customer’s address. The customer accepts the car and signs the purchase documents.

Online car orders started testing in November 2019 for BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe in a special Online Edition version. Russian customers have made more than 100 down payments this year to date. The largest amount paid online so far has been RUB 6.6 million (around $90,000).