Fiat Chrysler Dealers Embrace Online Sales

ORE is Fiat Chryslerís digital retailing solution that allows customers to complete the entire vehicle purchase process online from the comfort of their own homes. Credit: FCA/YouTube
As Car Pro Show host Jerry Reynolds has discussed on the Car Pro Show over the past few weeks, COVID-19 is changing the way people are buying vehicles. With the pandemic forcing the temporary closure of many dealership showroom, online sales have become more important than ever and Reynolds says from what heís hearing many shoppers are enjoying the experience.

One automaker reporting notable growth in online sales is Fiat Chrysler Automotive. The company says more than one-third of its U.S. dealers are now giving car shoppers the option to shop and buy new vehicles from the comfort of their home through its recently launched Online Retailing Experience (ORE).

FCA says since ORE launched a month ago, itís been implemented by 1,000 dealers stretching from Maine to California. Itís been so quickly adopted by dealers, FCA says more than 90% of its U.S. dealer network now uses web-based tools to sell cars and trucks via the Internet.

"We accelerated the introduction of ORE to help our dealers who were hampered by state mandates to shut down their new vehicle sales operations and showrooms amid the COVID-19 outbreak," U.S. Head of Sales Jeff Kommor said. "The response has been phenomenal. Dealers are reaching new consumers while developing a different set of customer-relations skills since many of the transactions are now being completed in a customer's driveway rather than showroom."

Kommor estimates about 20 percent of new sales leads now come from online retailing compared with about 1 percent a year earlier.

"ORE and other third-party applications have proven to be robust, reliable and trustworthy," Kommor said. "It has been a journey, but we have finally reached that point where customers and dealers alike have embraced buying and selling vehicles through cyberspace."

FCA calls ORE a one-stop platform to help dealers handle the entire purchase process from trade-in to final signatures. ORE is accessible through the Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, FIAT and Alfa Romeo websites, participating dealer sites and a variety of social media applications. Customers simply click on the link to begin the process.

How it works:

  • Shoppers select a make and model from a brand website.
  • Once a choice is made, the transaction seamlessly moves to the corresponding dealership offering the selection.
  • Different features allow customers to determine trade-in value for their older vehicle, financing and incentive availability.
  • Customers are provided a total cost which is also broken into monthly payment estimates.
  • The credit application, title, loan and all other paperwork is completed online using e-signature technology.
  • The new vehicle is delivered and the trade-in is taken away.

"We recently sold a new Jeep to a woman who lives 65 miles away from the dealership," said Garrett Guest, vice president of South Oak Jeep Dodge Chrysler Ram based in Matteson, Illinois. "We are connecting with our customer base that is engaged and excited about buying online."

Kommor added that he expects the number of participating dealers to continue to grow over the next few months.

"We are only at the beginning of what can be accomplished with ORE," Kommor said.
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