Automotive, Industry Ideas, Insights

How to sell 100 cars in four minutes

By Motoinsight - May 28, 2020

The Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition is pretty quick. Ultralight forged wheels by BBS, a limited-slip differential, and 306 horsepower turn the affordable family sedan into a tire-smoking, corner devouring, track-day David to the supercar Goliaths.

So maybe it’s no wonder there was so much demand for the 100 units set aside for the Canadian market. Sports car performance with family hatchback pricing is an alluring combination. But you've built hype in the market, how do you turn that into buying commitments?

How to turn interest into purchases


Honda didn’t have any trouble answering that question. No stranger to technology as a catalyst for performance (how else do you get 306 horsepower out of a two-litre engine?), they found the tech-forward solution: digital retailing.

When the Type R launched, automotive digital retailing was the only practical and safe way to sell cars amid rising COVID concerns. You can see the evidence of this in the elevated stock price of online automotive retailer Carvana, up 4.4 per cent YTD at a time when major dealer groups were down anywhere from 10 to 30 per cent. Carvana is digital-first; it was (and is) their advantage over dealerships who resist modern retailing.

What the pandemic and the Type R taught us

The Type R's success wasn't a temporary fad. The pandemic accelerated consumer adoption of online car buying processes (as it has done for every other industry), but what investors identified there was the staying power; the pandemic cemented online shopping as the new way to buy, even after showrooms reopened.

88% of car buyers relied on online resources to make their purchase even before the pandemic
Kijiji did some research on this, too! Read up on what it means for your dealership here.

Honda capitalized on consumer sentiments that predated COVID

That’s why Honda, in a time when economic uncertainty and limited mobility stifled car sales, could sell all 100 Type Rs in under four minutes. By using MotoCommerce automotive digital retailing to power their online pre-order system, Honda translated their marketing efforts into closed deals in less time than it takes to drive to the dealership. This level of performance just isn’t possible through the old way of doing business.

Digital retailing created a process with no roadblocks, no stress points, and no limits to how fast or enthusiastically Honda’s customers could pre-order their cars. Vehicle availability was the only restriction on the sale of the Civic Type R Limited Edition. If inventory is a limit for you, learn how to sell more cars with less inventory over here.

Why that will work for you, too

We recognize that the Type R is a special car. No matter how well you advertise, your audience probably isn’t going to be as ravenously animated about purchasing their next crossover or subcompact. But there’s another side to this: 100 people dove headfirst into the purchase of a car they hadn’t even had the chance to look at, never mind test drive.

This sort of enthusiasm doesn’t emerge from nowhere; it indicates an underlying demand on which Honda expertly capitalized, and which dealerships can leverage to sell anything from a next-gen sports car to a family sedan.

Your customers’ buying habits never stop evolving. A flexible digital retailing solution keeps you on top, no matter what else changes

Summed up: what does this tell us?

The Type R’s astonishing sales figures are proof of two facts:

  • First, the Type R is an undeniably desirable car.
  • Second, car buyers wanted digital retailing long before we gave it to them.

Just like this race-ready Civic, digital retailing is the practical, tech-forward, high performance option that consumers can’t get enough of. As we forge a path out of the COVID-19 pandemic, digital retailing is going to be the powerhouse of our recovery — and our future.

Read more about the Civic Type R Limited and its unprecedented launch success here.

Ready to sell more cars? See how your dealership can thrive online today.

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