Volvo’s UK dealers could be forced to shift to an agency sales model with the move taking effect as soon as May.
That’s according to Autocars report, which says the manufacturer is looking to speed up the transition plans to an agency model.
The move was previously rumoured to be happen for this summer, but Autocar is saying it has discovered that the change could come into effect as early as the end of January, with the aim of starting the new sales model in just three month time.
The UK would be the test bed ahead of it being rolled out to other regions by Volvo.
Autocar has quoted a Volvo UK spokesperson as saying that: ‘Volvo Cars always strives to offer our customers the best possible experience.
‘We want to meet and support our customers where they want, and expect, to meet us – whether they’re researching online, visiting a retailer location or coming into one of our showrooms.
‘To that end, we’re launching an omnichannel sales model, underpinned by strengthened digital capabilities, more price transparency and continuous engagement of our retailer network.
‘Our commercial transformation is well under way in the UK, where we have already begun rolling out the new omnichannel model.
‘The UK is on course to complete this transformation later this year, with more markets to follow in due course. Stay tuned.’
The switch to an agency model sees the manufacturer running its own online sales as well as looking after customer relationships. Dealers are paid a fixed handover fee with vehicles sold at a fixed price that is controlled by the manufacturer.
According to Autocar agency sales have come in for criticism by some customers because it takes away haggling and forces prices up.
It adds that some dealers are opposed to the transition, too, because it removes their training and expertise from the sales process – some manufacturers such as Renault, Kia and Hyundai say they’re not planning to move to the agency model for that very reason.
With Volvo being one of the first to move to this model it will watched with great interest by others manufacturers and dealers alike.