Dealers will continue to be an essential part of Seats sales network, as they give the company a “massive advantage” over launch car manufacturers seeking to take advantage of launch opportunities as the auto industry changes, according to Seat boss Luca de Meo.

Although de Meo has advocated new ways of doing business, especially around the opportunities of digitization and car sharing, he said the retail network was crucial to protect an overprice for its products.

“Look at Apple, why do they stand out above all others in price when product differences are not so great? “They open cathedrals to their products to attract customers. Now you see that Amazon is building warehouses as it needs to deliver on its 24-hour promise. A physical presence is a necessity, even for digital businesses.

“If you look at the industries that have pushed down the path of the Internet – from book publishers to other electronics manufacturers, the price has only gone down.

De Meo also pointed out that car buyers usually wanted a visible destination to which they could return if they had problems with their car, which reinforces once again the need for dealers.

“You can order your sushi online, but what if they bring you Thai food?” he said. “Its the same with a car – you want someone to look you in the eye and fix any problems with your order.

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