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Chinese electric car specialist Aiways cuts out dealers by selling the U5 SUV online

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Aiways, the Shanghai-based personal mobility provider, has confirmed that its new U5 all-electric SUV will be made available in Europe exclusively via a direct-to-customer sales model, and not retailed or leased through traditional car dealerships. The announcement comes ahead of the reveal of the production-ready European version of the U5 which had been planned for the 2020 Geneva International Motor Show (from 3 March), where the company was due to introduce its first business partners in Europe.

Alexander Klose, Executive VP Overseas Operation at Aiways, commented: “Aiways’ sales model will improve access to the all-electric U5 and make it easy to buy a car online. We are considering different types of ownership models, ranging from subscription to outright purchase – but starting with leasing.”

The new sales model will streamline the traditional car buying ‘journey’, and ensure that using and maintaining a U5 is as simple as possible, the company says. A new Aiways dedicated European website is being prepared that will enable prospective U5 buyers to research models, book test drives, configure vehicles and sign up to usage periods that suits their needs.

So that consumers can interact with Aiways vehicles and conduct test drives, the company is establishing ‘showrooms’ throughout Europe. Its first partnership will be with Euronics in Germany, working with the leading electronics retail chain to develop the growing market for electric vehicles. The two companies have chosen key locations that will be staffed by EV experts able to answer questions and deliver the highest standards of service, and maximize the potential for electric vehicle sales in chosen markets.

Interested customers will begin the leasing process online, choosing from a number of short- and long-term options. New and second-hand Aiways vehicles will be available through the programme, which is being backed by a dedicated European leasing partner – to be announced over the coming months.

Aftercare program
Aftersales care in Europe, including technical support and servicing, will come from a network of established in-country specialists who have received training and guidance on the U5 and its systems. With scheduled U5 maintenance every 100,000km (about 60,000 miles), working with local partners is said to be a more effective means of servicing customer vehicles than establishing a new Aiways aftersales network throughout the region.

In Germany, Aiways intends to enter into cooperation with A.T.U., a leading chain of independent workshops, offering a range of services to customers.  Based on a principle agreement between Aiways and A.T.U., details of the cooperation will be jointly developed and announced by the time the U5 is made available. Other regional support and servicing partnerships will be announced ahead of the U5’s launch later this year.

Impact of COVID-19
Originally set to launch in Europe in April 2020, production of the U5 has been impacted by COVID-19 (Coronavirus). The company says it has been focusing its recent energy and resources on helping to fight the virus outbreak and supporting local communities to limit its spread. Because of these unforeseeable circumstances, Aiways has brought forward production of the 2021 model year U5 to July, with the first European deliveries now slated for August 2020.

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