Technology which demonstrates the features of a new vehicle has helped a New Zealand automotive distributor sell millions of dollars’ worth of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) months before they arrive in the market.
The virtual reality technology introduced into car dealerships around New Zealand allows consumers wearing a headset to visualise the new model’s proportions.
Jaguar Land Rover New Zealand general manager Steve Kenchington says there are a number of elements needed to educate a customer before they can feel comfortable with their purchase.
“First, the basic sales proposition must make sense to the buyer – they must weigh up the perceived value for money offered against their current needs.
“Then, there is an aesthetically driven, experiential factor – where the buyer interacts with the vehicle,” Kenchington says.
“To some degree, it helps that consumers are familiar with the brand. New Zealanders already own more Land Rover Discoveries per capita than virtually every other market outside of the United Kingdom.”
Previously, buyers new to the brand have waited until a demonstrator was available before making a purchase, Kenchington says.
He says the new virtual reality tool can provide an alternative way to learn the vehicle’s physical dimensions.
“These are premium vehicles which are high involvement purchases and buyers will often take weeks or months to make a choice which best matches their requirements.
“While there has sometimes been a historic reluctance to buy a vehicle off the brochure, we have found experiencing the model in virtual reality has helped inform the customer sufficiently, and they are able to decide without having to view the car in the showroom,” Kenchington says.
“For our dealer network, this technology is helping to transform the way we sell cars – it helps us overcome the geographic barrier which prevents us from bringing in new models as quickly as other markets which are closer to the point of manufacture.
“Buyers can not only better understand the relative size of the vehicle but they can also customise it to their specifications – a process which in the past may have delayed the delivery of their new vehicle.”
Kenchington says the first two shipments of the new Land Rover Discovery were sold before they arrived.
“Pre-sales for the new model opened around eight months before the first shipment is due to arrive here, which means that those interested in the new model need to visit their retailer as soon as possible.”
The Land Rover Discovery is priced from $114,900 for the SE model, $126,900 for the HSE model and from $136,900 for the HSE Luxury model.