BMW will remain resilient & responsive in every way: Arlindo Teixeira

Teixeira, acting President, BMW Group India, speaks to e4m about the carmaker's new contactless service, the impact of the pandemic on the auto industry & plans for the road ahead post COVID

e4m by Neeta Nair
Updated: May 1, 2020 3:05 PM
Arlindo Teixeira

BMW India has just launched Contactless Experience in response to the new normal of post-COVID-19 reality. Arlindo Teixeira, acting President, BMW Group India tells us how that will help allay the fears of the luxury car buyers who are keen on maintaining social distancing in the next few months.

Tell us about the BMW Contactless Experience and what are the innovative sales and aftersales services you are offering to the BMW customer through that which allow social distancing?

 The safety and well-being of everyone around us including our customers, our employees and our partners is our top priority. The single most important thing to do right now is to flatten the COVID-19 virus curve through social distancing.

The BMW Contactless Experience is a novel platform that enables customers to access both sales and after-sales services while following social distancing. It allows them to explore and buy new and pre-owned BMW cars, book vehicle service, make payments securely online and more, with a click of a button using www.bmw-contactless.in.

Customers can use either their smartphone, tablet or personal computer to interact with the sales consultant virtually and get a 360° view of vehicle exterior, interior and discuss other features without any physical interaction. Vehicle brochures, specification details and other documents are shared online avoiding any physical contact.

Customers will receive their BMW at the place of their choice after a thorough sanitisation process along with handover of all vehicle documents in a sanitised envelope. Existing BMW customers can book after-sales services instantly using BMW Contactless Experience.

Once logged into their account, customers can choose a convenient date and time, type of service required and confirm vehicle pick up and drop details. Service cost estimates along with details of the service are sent for customer approval using BMW Smart Video.

Secure online payments for services availed offers complete peace of mind. The serviced vehicle is fully sanitised and delivered as per the requested location. The deliveries and servicing of all customer vehicles will be done adhering to all local government directives post the lockdown period.

BMW India Financial Services will play an instrumental role in facilitating sales in challenging market conditions. Customised and flexible financial solutions will be significantly valuable to a premium clientele of BMW in these unprecedented and critical times.

For the consumer who would be keen on a luxury car purchase post lockdown, what would be the new expectations from a carmaker like BMW and related fears in the entire purchase journey?

Amidst the current pandemic situation, BMW Group India has successfully transformed its business processes and put in place various measures to effectively and efficiently serve our existing customers and prospects by leveraging new-age digital technologies. The main expectations of customers in an online purchase journey are ease-of-use, transparency and expert advice.

Through BMW Contactless Experience, we meet all these expectations and deliver more ‘joy’ to customers. An industry-first comprehensive initiative, the BMW Contactless Experience offers consumers an all-new way to explore and experience the world of BMW while being in the comfort of their homes.

Here, the customer experience is not only limited to a website and digital tools. It is a comprehensive journey that is personalised by our dealership representatives. All queries are answered thoroughly, and all possible options are presented to the customers. Assistance is available at each step of the process.  Through this initiative, we have seen a tremendous increase in customer engagement, configuration requests and virtual product presentations on this platform.

Are these new-age digital technologies temporary, till a cure for COVID-19 is found and the world goes back to normal; or do you feel these steps can become a way of life for BMW sales in future?

Digital technologies are here to stay and evolve even after COVID-19. For the last few years, the BMW Group has been introducing new digital solutions that enhance customer experience significantly.

In 2018, BMW India had already introduced a pioneering multi-faceted retail ‘Online Sales Channel’. Going forward, the BMW Contactless Experience will play a crucial role in continuing seamless sales and aftersales services to our existing and new customers.

Also, in the last couple of years, millennials and GenZhad already opened a connected view of automotive sales and services, which is a significant shift from traditional methods. Their consumption and purchase behaviour have encouraged businesses to innovate and redesign their experiences to cater to the demands and preferences of this multi-device, multi-platform generation.

A tech-savvy generation, their device ecosystem is one of the best ways to reach where they are. Offering digital sales and services via easy to use platforms remains one of the best entry points.

Second bad year in a row for automakers. Once the lockdown is lifted, what percentage of increase in demand are you foreseeing for luxury cars? Do you think the consumer would be more cautious than ever about spending or just the reverse?

 2019 was not an easy year for the Indian automotive industry as various macroeconomic and structural conditions shook its foundations. This year, the coronavirus pandemic has presented a mammoth challenge to public health, industry, economy and our business. BMW Group India will stand its ground in this fierce environment.

The current situation has brought many operational difficulties and eliminated valuable physical interactions with customers at dealerships. Until normalcy returns, our focus will be on consistent digital interaction with our customers and maintaining the performance. With the strength of its admired brands and superior products, BMW Group India will remain resilient and responsive in every way.

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