Avoid online route to buy our cars: Renault

The Indian arm of Renault, the France-based automobile maker, issued a warning on Thursday regarding the buying of its cars through e-commerce websites.

Recently, a few international electronic device companies such as Lenovo, Toshiba and Nikon had issued similar advisories on their respective websites, cautioning buyers against e-commerce purchase.

Renault said it wanted to ensure people were not fooled by a false promise made by an individual  or group to lure customers in buying a Renault product, either by a discount or a compromise on the quality.

In its public notice, Renault said, “E-commerce websites like Snapdeal.com, Flipkart.com, Amazon.in, OLX.com, etc, or any other person operating through these websites, are not part of our authorised dealer network and they are not authorised to sell new Renault brand vehicles. New Renault brand vehicles sold through these websites do not carry any warranties from Renault.”

On the other side, experts note e-commerce companies in India do not sell cars. The exceptions are sites such as Quikr and OLX, offering a platform for transaction of old products, including used cars. Some e-commerce companies have recently introduced an automotive segment but they concentrate on vehicle parts and some on two-wheelers.

Renault's spokesperson said "we want to ensure that people are not fooled by any false promise made by an individual / group to lure customer in buying Renault product either on discount or compromise on the quality of the product".

He added, selling a new car completely through E-commerce is not possible because the selling process involves a lot of physical interventions like registration of the car at the RTO, pre-delivery check, agreements with finance companies, etc. Hence none of the car manufacturers actually sell though e-commerce sites, though there are a few sites which provide general and technical information about the cars and portals which sell used cars.

"Additionally, as a foreign brand, we are prohibited from doing B2C transactions. Selling on on-line sites is B2C," said the spokesperson.

The company, which informed the general public that new Renault brand vehicles are sold only through its authorised dealer network. "....also requested them to check the warranty entitlements, when you purchase any Renault brand vehicles from such websites or persons operating through such websites," said in the advertisement.

The spokesperson added, "the advertisement must not be misinterpreted as a stand against e-commerce sites or digital lead generation but issued as an advisory cautioning consumers". Renault is capitalising digital and social medial. About 15 per cent of company's leads are through the internet and mobile and have invested in technology.

Responding to the advertisement, the e-commerce majors have said that they don't deal with any automotive products, including cars. OLX.com deals with only cars, but not new ones and that too through advertisements by brokers or car owners. However, the advertisement of Renault specifically mentions about "new Renault brand vehicles."

Industry experts says the move is to appease the vehicle dealers, who fear that online sales at lower prices would harm their physical outlets and overall business.