Source: The Drive
Rocking a bright Phoenix Yellow paint job and lighter BBS wheels, only 100 copies of the 2021 Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition were allocated for Canada. Perhaps Honda should’ve set aside more for our friends in the Great White North because all 100, like floor seats at a Drake concert (remember concerts?), sold out within minutes. And all without the intervention of a traditional dealer.
Yep, instead of leaving things up to its dealer network, Honda Canada decided to pre-sell the Limited Edition hot hatch completely through an online portal. The virtual order books opened up May 21 at 1 p.m. ET and by 1:04 p.m., all 100 build slots were spoken for. This is in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, each reservation’s required $1,000 deposit, and the fact that Honda hasn’t actually announced a final price for the car yet, proving two things we already kinda knew: Type R fever is real and much of the buying public is very ready for online car sales.
Speaking to Canada’s Automotive News, Motoinsight co-founder and CEO Andrew Tai said, “It continues to impress me that customers under the right circumstances are willing to commit sight unseen to vehicles and do so online.”
Motoinsight was the company responsible for powering the limited Type R’s online sales portal.
“The consumer trends are always moving in this direction. We saw it all around us even pre-COVID. I think COVID accelerated the adoption of online purchasing experiences across demographics and automotive is not immune from that,” Tai continued.
Despite what its dealers might think of all this, online car sales don’t sound like they’ll be going away for the automaker’s Canadian arm. “This was obviously a very successful program for us, and we’ll take that into consideration for future sales campaigns,” said Honda Canada Assistant Vice President of Sales and Marketing Steve Hui.
Tai adds, however, that brick-and-mortar dealerships will still have their place and purpose. “I want to be very clear that we are not predicting [the end of dealerships] and everything goes online. This is just a trend where customers are doing more online. I think consumers ultimately want an in-store experience and there is an important role for the dealer to play.”
Even with the advent of Tesla’s direct sales, so-called “legacy manufacturers” like Honda have historically shied away from selling cars online in order to keep its dealers happy. The coronavirus pandemic has changed the game significantly, though. If the global health crisis is leaving us with any permanent silver linings, hopefully, a less painful car-buying experience is one of them.