C2oBysFUcAAar-fYou know the exact new car you want. It’s the SE hatchback with the half-leather seats, a manual, in ruby red.

So you get down to the showroom. Two hours later you drive off in the XXSL drop-top in jagged-fury metallic black with low-profile tyres and a three-litre engine. When you get home, you have to wipe yourself down. Because you’re covered in smarm.

Nasty, sticky substance. Gets everywhere. But it’s particularly prevalent in car showrooms. You get talked in to stuff you simply don’t want or need.

So, good for Peugeot. They’ve taken a stand against smarm. You can now order your new car from the comfort of your sofa while you eat doughnuts.

The Order Online platform allows you to view, configure, buy and have your car delivered from home. It’s been three years in development and Peugeot believes it will bridge the gap between those frankly terrifying showrooms and the more-relaxed atmosphere of home shopping.

Customers of this ‘connected dealership’ will tailor personalised real-time finance quotes, guarantee a part-exchange price and have their new car delivered without ever having to visit a dealer.

But if you’re hopelessly addicted to smarm, you still have a halfway house option: you can begin the process online, then brave the dealership to push things forward using the details stored in your My Peugeot account. You can even click and collect.

Head of digital and e-commerce for PSA Peugeot-Citroen UK Andrew Baird said, “Buying hasn’t changed for 50 years and it’s obvious it will come and everybody will participate. I really think there’s going to be a big shift this year and next.

“We think 0.1 per cent might go all the way through but it gives 99 per cent of customers a better experience.”

A £250 refundable reservation fee ensures buyers aren’t just ordering cars without realising the implications. There’s also a two-week cooling-off period.

Baird added: “There’s a big opportunity to connect dealers and take away the barrier between what is their data and our data for the benefit of the customer.”

It’s also an opportunity to save on those dry-cleaning bills.

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Author Chris Painter

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