Tesco has moved into online car sales, with the promise of delivering better service, value and convenience to the used car market.
The supermarket says it has developed its service to take account of the ‘tens of thousands’ of complaints that consumers make each year to watchdog Consumer Direct about the £24bn market.
The company has struck a partnership with Carsite to operate the site, which sells former fleet and lease cars. Cars sold through the Tesco Cars site, unveiled yesterday, typically have one previous owner and go through RAC and HPI checks before they are sold.
Because it operates online and does not have the overheads associated with storing cars, Tesco Cars says it will be able to offer cars for the “best value”. Cars, which can be booked online round the clock, can be collected from a handover centre or delivered direct to the door. Sales are supported by a maintenance and repair service, delivered by the Innovation Group through its National Service Network of more than 1,000 independent garages, that Tesco says will be up to 30% cheaper than franchise dealers.
Andrew Higginson, chief executive of Retailing Services at Tesco, said: “By supplying directly to customers, there is no middle man, no expensive showroom and no salespeople on commission. Buyers can be sure they are getting the best value out there - and we will say 'thank you' with 2,000 Clubcard points.
"As well as offering great service and value, customers really can enjoy the most convenient car-buying experience in the sector. There's no pressure, no hard sell. You can select and buy your car from the comfort of your own home and, just like your weekly shop, we will even deliver it to your front door."
Sir Trevor Chinn, chairman of Tesco Cars, said: “When buying a used car, consumers want to know they can trust the information supplied, that they are getting good value for money and a good product supported by good customer service.
“Importantly they also want to be able to take their time to make the right purchase. We are delivering a positive new experience for today’s car buyer.”
As well as an online maintenance and repair service, buyers can also tap into complementary Tesco services, from car insurance and breakdown cover to financing loans, through Tesco Bank.
Our view: It’s only in recent years that consumers have proved willing to buy high value items such as cars online in numbers that make it worth retailers’ while. Tesco is betting that its brand together with the checks and guarantees that it promises will inspire enough trust in consumers that they will spend thousands on a car they haven’t seen. It will be interesting to see how that works out.