Porsche will begin selling its vehicles online in the U.S. for the first time, the company announced on Monday. To begin with, the company is proceeding with a pilot program that will be offered with 25 of its U.S.-based dealer partners, but the automaker says it could expand to cover the U.S. market more broadly across a larger group of the 191 independent Porsche dealers that currently operate in the U.S.
The pilot project will let Porsche buyers pick out and submit an order for both new and used in-stock vehicles, but the process isn’t entirely online — buyers will still have to show up at a dealership to sign the final paperwork and to take delivery of their new car. All the heavy lifting is handled online, however, including things like financing and payment calculators, as well as credit approvals and any insurance options that a buyer chooses to append to their purchase.
U.S. online shoppers will be able to do all of this through new sections integrated into the websites of the dealers participating into the program. Meanwhile, at the same time in Germany, Porsche is introducing online vehicle sales centralized through their own “www.porsche.de” website, which itself is a pilot designed to test the waters for a broader European roll-out.
Online auto sales are not new, but they still aren’t really a widespread thing in most markets, especially in the U.S., where the existing independent dealership system persists. Tesla leaned heavily into online vehicle sales, however, due in part to its unwillingness to work with independent dealer partners, and to the inflexibility of state laws that protect that system. The automaker’s investment in automotive e-commerce has clearly inspired others to follow suit, however, and I don’t expect Porsche will be the last to dip its toes in these waters.