2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 15:44
The numbers speak another language. But picking up the new car in the manufacturers' collection centers is becoming less and less important for customers.
The BMW World in Munich is the most visited tourist attraction in Bavaria with more than two million guests a year. More than Neuschwanstein Castle with around 1.4 million visitors. The carmaker is pleased, because the modern palace made of glass and steel is an important advertising medium for the group, a world of experience that is intended to raise the car purchase to an emotional level and to replace the disdainful delivery of the car to the local dealership.
Bratzel: Picking up yourself sounds too rational
VW showed the way with the Autostadt, which opened in 2000 - and created a prototype for the possibility of self-collection. But in the opinion of auto expert Stefan Bratzel from the University of Applied Sciences in Bergisch Gladbach, picking up your car sounds much too rational: "It's about emotionalizing the buying experience." Manufacturers could thus increase customer satisfaction and loyalty to the brand. But the appreciation of the car is changing. Many customers have long had a factual understanding of cars. It is difficult to create a brand experience, says Bratzel. This works best with expensive cars.
In 2011 BMW had a good 18,000, in the following year a good 2,000 more customers picked up their cars themselves. And at Audi, too, more and more customers come to receive the new one. At VW, the number of self-collectors has risen continuously since the Autostadt was founded. The record of around 200,000 was in 2009, but this was a special year because of the scrapping premium, said a spokesman. Last year there were about 173,000. For comparison: In 2012 the core brand sold a total of around 586,000 cars in Germany. The 100,000th BMW collector since it opened in 2007 came a few days ago.
A discontinued model
Trend researcher Peter Wippermann considers the self-collection project to be an obsolete model. "Appreciation is turning, young people see the car as much more functional." For more and more people, the car is less and less of a status symbol. Still, picking up the car remains a brilliant marketing ploy. Customers hardly save any money, even if the usual and often hefty transfer fee for transport to the dealer is no longer applicable.
“Factory collection doesn't always have to be the cheaper solution,” says ADAC lawyer Silvia Schattenkirchner. Because: the factory collection costs, depending on the manufacturer and the supporting program at the time of collection, at least 350 euros. It is only free at Mercedes. In addition, customers often have to take time off, because many car buyers sometimes have to make a long journey: Almost half of those who collect Audi themselves travel to Ingolstadt or Neckarsulm from more than 200 kilometers, says an Audi spokeswoman.
A spokesman explains that the majority of customers travel more than 100 kilometers to Wolfsburg to collect their cars from the Autostadt. Many customers come with friends or family to the ceremonial handover of the keys with the character of an amusement park. For many people who are collecting people, the visit is combined with a short vacation. In the BMW world, just under ten percent of customers come from the USA - also to extensively test the fast car on the highways before going home with its strict speed limits.
Effort is spared
Trend researcher Wippermann believes that many buyers shy away from such an expense. Instead, people would prefer to buy quickly and easily in the future instead of visiting the manufacturers' leisure worlds. He is already seeing the first signs of a change of course, for example in the virtual sales room that Audi opened in London in 2012. But car buying will continue to change and move to the network. “The younger ones are more willing to buy online. It's a completely different culture. " (dpa)