In Denmark, a New Car Is Now Just a Few Clicks Away

Volkswagen pursues a country of avid digital buyers

Author: Jasmine Enberg

February 15, 2017

While auto shoppers and enthusiasts have long been able to research and compare prices digitally, buying a new car has remained a largely in-person experience. That’s no longer the case in Denmark, however, where Volkswagen is allowing consumers to purchase one of its models directly from its website. 

Volkswagen’s service applies only to its up! minicar. As of December 2016, customers can order that model through VW’s Danish website and pay with a credit card or Danske Bank’s smartphone payment app, MobilePay. According to a press release from the Germany-based car manufacturer, the vehicle will be delivered to the buyer within 10 business days. 

Denmark is a logical choice for Volkswagen’s new program, as it is a country of avid online shoppers. eMarketer estimates that the country will have the second highest digital buyer penetration rate in the world in 2017, with 75.5% of the population ages 14 and older expected to make at least one digital purchase during the year. 

It’s too early to tell whether the penchant for ecommerce in Denmark will extend to car buying, however. Car parts and accessories, which have already been available for purchase online, have not sold particularly well. According to the FDIH (Foreningen for Dansk Internet Handel), auto, boat and bicycle equipment combined accounted for just DKK 2.8 billion ($416 million) of total business-to-consumer (B2C) ecommerce sales in the country during 2016. 

What’s more, PostNord reported that only 4% of digital buyers in Denmark had bought those types of items digitally in the month preceding its H1 2016 survey. Still, Volkswagen has timing on its side. Overall automotive sales in the country are booming, driven in part by recently lowered registration taxes. 

According to the Danish Car Importers Association (DBI), a record 222,924 personal cars were sold during 2016, up 7.4% from 2015. Data from Statistics Denmark showed that the boom continued into January 2017, with the total number of newly registered personal cars, including private or corporate purchases and leases, rising 19% year over year. 

The up! is the most popular minicar in Denmark, with 7,361 units sold in 2016, according to Volkswagen. That model is not affected by VW’s emissions fraud scandal, in which the carmaker was accused of cheating on emissions tests for a number of its diesel cars sold in the US. In January 2017, VW agreed to plead guilty to US criminal charges and pay a fine of $4.3 billion, the largest penalty ever imposed against an auto manufacturer by the US government.


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