Keen on picking up your new car direct from a factory halfway around the globe?
NEW car, first drive – not on familiar territory but 18,000 kilometres away, in a country on the other side of the world, where they drive on the other side of the road and where everyday road hazards might include ice and moose.
Would you be game to start off ownership of your New Zealand market Volvo by driving it in the country of its origin?
Volvo New Zealand is now offering that opportunity and it says it already has one customer, from Christchurch, who isn’t at all daunted about driving his right-hand-drive car in a left-hand drive environment before shipping it home.
He plans to pick up his latest acquisition when it rolls off the Gothenburg assembly line then tiki tour Europe for a month.
European car factories offering opportunity for customers to pick up their cars direct from the factory is not new – most brand allow this.
In the main, the opportunity is mainly taken by by locals, or at least people from neighbouring countries.
Volvo says it has been doing well with North American customers, too. They’ve been trekking to Sweden for six decades and it estimates around 1400 Americans will this year combine a new car purchase with a European holiday. Once again, though, it’s still a relatively hassle-free experience because the driving environment isn’t that much different.
The same cannot be said for Kiwis, for whom everything save for the basic international road signs will be different.
Also, until it heard from that Christchurch buyer – who convinced Volvo to tailor a factory delivery experience for him having learned about it from his local dealer – the brand had not considered taking the programme fully global.
“It’s a great way to connect to new markets and we see huge potential in offering factory delivery for all customers ordering their cars online,” says Jonas Thesslund, Volvo’s senior manager factory delivery experience.
Packages include flights, accommodation, insurance, airport transfers and a tour of the Volvo factory - itself a hugely popular experience that caters for 20,000 people a year and books out months in advance.
Volvo also offers a range of packaged holidays designed to help its Factory Delivery Experience customers get the most out of their trip to Sweden.
“We aim to give the customers an extraordinary experience both in Gothenburg when they visit Volvo but also to add the extra things that are hard to find and know about if you don’t live in Sweden,” says Thesslund.
While most customers tend to return their cars for shipping within two weeks, Volvo will tailor packages to suit customers’ needs.
Volvo New Zealand says it is in the process of creating packages tailored specifically for Kiwis, with longer holidays that enable adventurous types to take an extended tour of Europe likely to be an option.
The one stipulation is that cars are shipped out of Sweden within six months of purchase to avoid paying local taxes.
The Christchurch customer departs for Sweden in July, where he will pick up his car and take it for a month-long cruise around Europe.
“He has got an amazing trip planned,” said Volvo New Zealand product manager Zac Burt.
“And we are sure he is just the first of many Kiwis who will take up the chance to combine a tremendous holiday experience with buying a quality new vehicle.”
Once returned to the factory, cars are cleaned and groomed to the same level as cars straight off the production line, in order to meet New Zealand’s strict biosecurity requirements when shipped here.