Volvo has launched what it claims is the “UKs most comprehensive online new car buying service”.

The initiative – live at allows buyers to set up their new car, change the old one and, if necessary, sign an online financing agreement in less than 20 minutes, according to their creators. Volvos can be purchased on order from factory or stock, with orders always linked to a retailer who will set the prices. Used Volvos could be offered in the future. All sales will be subject to the rules of distance selling, which gives customers who choose to buy entirely online more rights of consumers.

Initially only the XC40 will be available through Volvos configurator, but other models are available for purchase online now and the configuration will be available from 3 May. Buyers can buy their car with cash, in a PCP or in a PCH, however, the latter will not be possible through an electronic signature until the second half of 2019. The configurator is configured to modify the monthly rental cost of the car as the customer adds options, in order to provide a real time quote.

“Whether online or offline, the way people buy cars has changed. Customers now have much more control over the process, and Volvo Online helps them take it a step further,” said Jon Wakefield, CEO of Volvo UK. It “makes life as easy as possible without compromising choice or safety, and allows customers to direct the purchasing process when it suits them best.

Other manufacturers, such as Hyundai, Peugeot, Ford and Tesla, have introduced similar online purchasing initiatives, although reports suggest that, to date, they have been more useful in obtaining information on customer behaviour than on profitability.

“It is very clear that we are entering this space to learn,” Wakefield said. “By engaging in this way with our customers, we will discover what they want. Our expectation is that a significant number of people will enjoy the process as part of the transaction, and as we learn we can adapt our service.

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