Subaru has opened up its online ordering system to its entire range, but still supports the dealership model, according to the brand's local boss.
Speaking with CarAdvice at the launch of the all-new Forester, Subaru Australia managing director, Colin Christie, said dealerships are still critical to the brand in Australia.
"To be honest, I think the role of a network is incredibly important. The network actually provides that relationship with the customer. So we can build brand relationships, we obviously stand by our product," Christie said.
"But ultimately it's the people. Every industry is about people, and I think this industry is the exact same. Our network are the people that actually deliver that customer experience so for us they're an integral part of how we operate."
Subaru's process for ordering a vehicle online includes entering customer details, specifying a vehicle and being put in touch with a dealer to organise delivery.
While it cuts out the process of physically visiting a dealership, and allows buyers to choose their car from home, it also removes the ability to haggle on price – the online recommend retail price figure is the first and final offer.
Subaru does combat the issue of having to deal with a car salesman by offering delivery of vehicles to test drive, and even going so far as to offer mobile servicing for customers.
Would not being able to haggle for your next new car prevent you from buying online? Do you think dealerships as we know them will exist in 10 or 20 years?