International conglomerate and electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer Mahindra International UK has begun distributing its cars in the UK solely via a web interface.
Currently Mahindra offers one model: the e2o city car, which is aimed at urban users, with prices starting at £12,995.
In taking the entire process online, Mahindra moves one step further from fellow EV manufacturer Tesla, which sells its cars exclusively through its own shops, as opposed to franchised dealers.
A spokesperson for Mahindra said the rise of the internet had removed barriers of entry for potential new market players, and presented companies with new opportunities.
In addition, they noted there was often reluctance among consumers, especially females, to visit dealerships, with the web being a more appealing research and purchasing method for some. In addition, they said online shopping would reduce costs,
Currently, Mahindra offers no finance, lease or trade-in facility. When questioned on the topic, the spokesperson said: “Currently there are no credit or lease options for the e2o. However, this is something that is being investigated by Mahindra so that this can be introduced to UK customers as soon as possible.”
The website does offer the ability to book a test drive, where users are able to choose from a pre-approved location in London, Birmingham, Bristol and Milton Keynes.
For aftersales, the vehicles employ telematics, which it said would allow engineers to connect to the vehicle and diagnose fault within the car remotely.
Mahindra International UK Chief Executive, Steve Parkinson, said “We’re extremely proud of our 100% online sales offering. With the entire sales process being digital, we’re able to close the price gap between diesel and electric cars and pass those savings onto our customers. Once a customer has purchased their e2o online, they can log on anytime to see whereabouts their vehicle is in the build process.”
Although the company’s EV offering in the UK is fairly niche at the moment, parent company Mahindra Group has been valued at over £11bn, and said it employs over 200,000 people.