Tesla Motors started it by selling its cars online, bypassing traditional dealers. BMW has been paying attention and has learned from the Tesla experiment. As of last Wednesday, the BMW i3 is now available online through Amazon in Japan, reports Yahoo! News.
“We have 46 dealers (which sell the electric model) in Japan, but we hope this e-selling will cover the entire market more thoroughly,” said a company spokesman. “This will widen the sales channel and improve convenience for customers. So many people are using the website. We would like to research potential customer groups who may be interested in our products.”
Customers can order either the standard i3 or the i3 REX with range extender engine through Amazon. But it’s not quite one click shopping. At least, not yet. Many Japanese cities are so densely populated that you cannot buy a new car unless you first prove you have a place to park it in. To complete the purchase online, the customer will have to submit proper documentation, including proof that the owner has a charging station available to recharge it.
Most of us are still fairly naive about online shopping. We see it as a great convenience and forget that when we shop online, we reveal more about ourselves, our credit history, our shopping preferences and our tastes than we would ever tell a real live person in a traditional dealership. Amazon was never intended to sell books. It was intended from the start to be a compiler of data about shoppers that it could then market to other businesses. And it has been wildly successful doing exactly that.
It now has amassed a global database rivaling that of the National Security Agency. No doubt BMW is anxious to benefit from that storehouse of information as it plans its marketing campaigns of the future.