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 once the marketing has taken hold of consumer interest, how do you turn that into buying commitments?

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.

Right now, digital retailing is the only practical and safe way to sell cars amid concerns of COVID-19. You can see the evidence of this in the elevated stock performance of online automotive retailer Carvana, up 4.4 per cent YTD in a time when major dealer groups are down anywhere from 10 to 30 per cent. Carvana is digital-first; it’s their advantage over dealerships, and it’s the future of the industry.

Because this isn’t just a temporary bubble. The pandemic has accelerated consumer adoption of online car buying processes (as it has done for every other industry), but what investors have identified here is the staying power; recent events have cemented online shopping as the new way to buy, even after the pandemic ends.

That’s why Honda, in a time when economic uncertainty and limited mobility stifle car sales, could sell all 100 cars in under four minutes. By using MotoCommerce 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.

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 minivan 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.

That unbridled eagerness demonstrated the ease and alacrity with which consumers adopted a digital-only process. 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.

The Type R’s astonishing sales figures are proof of two facts: first, that the Type R is an undeniably desirable car; and second, that 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.


Since 2011, Motoinsight has been working with dealerships and OEMs to realize a new vision for the automotive industry through our leading solutions including MotoCommerce. If you’re ready to find out how your dealership can thrive in the digital future, visit
motoinsight.com. Let’s redefine automotive retail, together.

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