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商业 - 科技

网上买车美梦何时成真?

Doron Levin 2013年08月16日

业内人士估计,无论是卖新车还是旧车,每辆的销售成本、一般成本与管理成本加起来,都高达2,000美元左右。如果通过网络卖车,这部分钱就可以让利于消费者,或者变成汽车厂商的利润。不过,由于现有销售模式的惯性和经销商的坚持,网上购车一直可望不可及。

    一个世纪以来,在经销商的展厅里购买新车或二手车的程序基本上没有什么变化,只是多了一些舒服的椅子和咖啡机什么的。

    但互联网正在解构新车销售的本质,它让消费者了解到更多有关汽车性能和价格的信息,同时还有专家的评测与看法。那么,不久的将来,消费者是否会像买书、买鞋、买笔记本电脑一样,开始在网上订购汽车呢?

    关于汽车能否在互联网上销售的争论已然十分激烈。汽车厂商们认为,网上卖车可以大幅降低渠道成本,光是卖一辆车的渠道成本就可减少几百、甚至几千美元。而经销商们则惊慌失措,他们已经在美国的各个州通过法律巩固了自己的经营权,许多经销商认为网上售车会对他们的业务造成严重损害。他们坚称“汽车不是书也不是鞋”,最好还是通过与销售员面对面沟通的方式来购车,因为消费者可以通过这个环节试驾车辆,同时办妥贷款和打折等有关的事宜。

    由艾伦•马斯科投资的电动汽车制造商特斯拉汽车公司(Tesla Motors)已经开始在官网上接受Model S的订单了,这款车型的起价为7万美元。这些车辆既可以运到这家公司拥有的30家商店里,也可以直接运到消费者的家门口。显然特斯拉并不怕挑战法律和传统。特斯拉公司的发言人莎娜•亨德里克斯说:“德克萨斯州的法律禁止厂商把汽车直接运到消费者家里,所以我们是通过第三方这样做的。我们并不是说我们永远都不需要经销商,但就眼下来说,那种模式对我们没有意义。”

    汽车网站Edmunds.com的总裁兼首席运营官塞斯•伯克维茨指出:“在目前的特许经营体系下,很难想象一旦消费者完全脱离了经销商的展厅,转而在网上订购汽车会是什么情形。”伯克维茨表示,Edmunds.com打算提供一项新功能,告诉消费者一款车型在到达经销商展厅之前的成本是多少。

    由于二手车市场不受新车特许经营法保护,因此这个领域对于在线卖车来说可能更有前景。比如eBay旗下的eBay Motors就在网络上发布了成千上万辆车型信息,方便私人进行二手车交易。很多二手车经销商也利用这个数码平台进行交易,而且还要支付一定的展示费用。

    Carvana是美国最大的二手车交易商之一DriveTime投资的一家公司,已经开始在自己的网上销售最新款的二手豪车和高端车型了。目前Carvana的业务还仅限于亚特兰大及周边地区,但它希望尽快将业务扩展到全美。公司CEO 小欧尼•加西尼说:“我们从早期的经验中了解到,消费者喜欢我们的在线工具和金融担保。”目前这家公司的业务刚刚开展8个月,不过它没有透露已经售出了多少辆二手车,只是说销售速度正在加速。

    加西亚介绍,Carvana公司首批卖出的100辆二手车在客户中的满意度很高,预示了光明的前景。这100个客户中,只有4个人对他们购买的车辆不满意,而且行使了换车的权利,别外只有1名客户要求退车返款。

    加西亚表示,在传统的销售方式下,无论是卖新车还是旧车,每辆的销售成本、一般成本与管理成本加起来,都高达2,000美元左右。他认为,随着网络售车的模式吸引更多的消费者,这部分金额最终会缩水,转化成利润。

    密歇根州大布兰克市的Al Serra Auto Plaza汽车行的网络总监杰夫•琼斯表示,他的公司正在与通用汽车公司(General Motors)合作进行一项试点项目。用户可以访问通用官网来在线“制造”一辆车及其相关配置,但最后一步、也就是交易的过程仍然在经销商的门店里进行。他说:“要确保购车者的确具有贷款的资格,以及他是否选择了适合他的车型,人的因素仍然是必要的。”

    新车的在线销售虽然还没有成为现实,而且说不定永远都将是纸上谈兵,但是给我们的感觉却是这一天已经离我们越来越近了。特别是有些消费者已经习惯了用鼠标和键盘挑选和购买一切东西,甚至包括挑选自己的人生伴侣。(财富中文网)

    译者:朴成奎  

    For a century or so, the shopping ritual at dealer showrooms for new and used vehicles hasn't changed much, apart from more comfortable chairs and the addition of latte machines.

    But the Internet is unraveling the essence of new-car retailing, arming shoppers with more information than ever about features and prices, as well as expert reviews. Will shoppers soon be able to take the next step and order new cars online, like books, laptops and shoes?

    The debate over Internet vehicle sales rages, since automakers see it as a way to slash distribution costs by hundreds, and perhaps a few thousand dollars per vehicle. Dealers are aghast: They have shielded their franchises in every state with legislation. Many view Internet sales as a means of undermining them. Dealers assert that "cars aren't books or shoes" and are best sold in person by their sales staff, a process that allows the shopper to test the vehicle, as well as explore financing and trade-ins.

    Tesla Motors (TSLA), the groundbreaking electric-vehicle manufacturer founded by Elon Musk, takes orders for its Model S sedan, which starts at $70,000, on its website. The cars are delivered either at one of its 30 company-owned stores or can be drop-shipped to a buyer's home. Tesla, clearly, is bucking law and tradition. "In Texas, where the law precludes delivering directly to customers, we do so through third-parties," said Shanna Hendriks, a Tesla spokesperson. "We're not saying we'll never have dealers; but that model doesn't make sense for us now.

    Seth Berkowitz, president and chief operating officer of Edmunds.com, said "the current franchise system makes it difficult to imagine a time when consumers can order new cars online completely separate from a specific showroom experience." Berkowitz said Edmunds is offering a feature that would allow shoppers to know exactly what a specific car will cost before they come to the dealership.

    Because the market for used cars isn't protected by new-car franchise laws, it may provide a more promising opportunity for online vehicle sales. eBay Motors, a division of eBay (EBAY), offers thousands of vehicles online for sales between private parties. Many used-car dealers also use the digital platform and pay a listing fee.

    Carvana, a venture sponsored by DriveTime, one the nation's largest used-car operations, has begun selling late-model used premium and luxury models on its own website. Carvana operates for the time being only in Atlanta and its environs but hopes to expand nationwide. "What we've learned from our early experience is that shoppers like our on-line tools and money-back guarantee," said Ernie Garcia Jr., Carvana's chief executive officer. Barely in business for eight months, Carvana declines to specify how many vehicles it has sold, except to say that the rate is accelerating.

    Garcia did say that the first hundred vehicles sold by Carvana reflect what he called a "promising" trend of high satisfaction among buyers. Four buyers of the first hundred weren't satisfied with their purchase and exercised their right to trade the vehicles they bought for another. Only one of the hundred demanded a refund.

    Garcia said that sales of new and used vehicles at dealerships, in the conventional manner, reflect about "$2,000 a car" in sales, general and administrative cost. He regards that amount as margin that can and will eventually shrink as online attracts more vehicle shoppers.

    Jeff Jones, Internet director for Al Serra Auto Plaza, a new-car dealer in Grand Blanc, Michigan, said his company is cooperating in an on-line pilot program with General Motors (GM). Visitors to GM websites can "build" a vehicle and equipment online -- the last step, the transaction, takes place at the dealership. "It still takes a human element to make sure the customer is eligible for financing and to see if the customer is choosing the right vehicle for him or her," said Jones.

    New-vehicle sales online haven't arrived, and perhaps may never. Yet that day feels as though it's drawing closer, especially for consumers who will choose anything and everything -- including a spouse -- using keypad or mouse.

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