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Test drive a Kia without a salesman

A new Cycle & Carriage Kia campaign uses software as part of soft-sell tactic.

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The Kia Hands On campaign will let drivers book a demo car online, show up at the showroom and take the car for an unaccompanied spin.

Singapore

TAKE a new car for a test drive without a sales executive breathing down your neck - that's a new idea Cycle & Carriage Kia will put into practice in early March.

Its Kia Hands On campaign will let drivers book a demo car online at KiaHandsOn.com, show up at the showroom and take the car for an unaccompanied spin. Drivers have to present their driving licence to a member of staff, of course.

Participants will have to download an accompanying app for their smartphone so they can receive a virtual key that will unlock the test vehicle. The app will also present the test models in a digital showroom, give users their specifications, highlight key features and so on.

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To lure drivers, the company is offering a gift with every test drive. Some drivers will win tickets to the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia, of which Kia is a sponsor.

A Cycle & Carriage spokesman said the campaign is a "new way for people to engage with Kia", but it is also an example of how car companies are looking for novel ways to generate sales leads.

Car retailers here are also investigating ways to move sales online so that they can reduce sales staff headcount and trim showroom space.

Availability of Kia Hands On test drives will coincide with the brand's "road shows" - pop-up events at various locations that take cars out of the main showroom and into venues with heavy human traffic. The next one is set to take place at Hougang Mall in March, where the brand's demo cars will also be made available.

Before you think you can pick up a car and hog it for a day, each test drive slot is just 20 minutes long. The idea is to get hands on with a new Kia, not make off with one. For that, a sales executive will have to step back into the picture.

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