German Supermarket Lidl Intends to Sell Cars Online
According to the Associated Press, Lidl partnered with German car distributor ATG-Automobile GmbH and it will retail the Opel Corsa for just under 11,000 euros and the Volkswagen Cross Polo for 14,000 euros. That means that the supermarket offers a discount of about 25 percent to buyers who decide to purchase these models through the chain's online shopping portal.
"Lidl and ATG-Automobile GmbH work with the same target audience," explained spokeswoman Petra Trabert. "We are geared toward the customer who seeks quality in conjunction with a favourable price," she added.
Although Germany has also been hit by the global recession, Lidl believes it can turn this situation to its advantage by giving discounts to the cars sold online. Nevertheless, not everybody is optimistic about Lidl's idea. Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, the director of the Center for Automotive Research in Gelsenkirchen, said there were other companies that tried to sell cars online and failed in their attempt.
"I think it will be very difficult for Lidl," Dudenhoeffer said. "People don't want to buy high-value products from a discount grocery store."
One of the companies that tried to sell cars online about five years ago was the well-known Quelle.
"It didn't work, even though their site was visited fairly heavily," Dudenhoeffer said. He said Germans might be unwilling to forgo haggling over the price of a car. Germans like to go to the dealership," he added.
Well, each new business runs a risk of failure. If it didn't work once, this doesn't imply it won't work some other time, in totally different conditions. And the financial crisis seems to provide the perfect cover. The Germans might like to go to the dealerships but they might think again when it comes to discounts of 25 percent in a time when each eurocent is badly needed.