You no longer need to visit a dealer showroom to order a new car. More and more manufacturers are launching online portals, where you can configure, order and pay for a new vehicle, before having it delivered to your own home.
And now, Audi has gone a step further, by signing a death warrant for the service advisor. The so-called digital ‘Service Station’ is like a giant vending machine, but rather than dispensing chocolate bars or drinks, it stores and collects car keys.
It enables customers to drop off or pick up their vehicles and pay for servicing, regardless of the dealer’s opening hours. Fancy dropping off your A3 for a minor service and an MOT at 3am? Not a problem.
You can even drive away in a rental or courtesy car, with customers able to take a key from the Service Station, before returning to the terminal when the rental period is up.
Not that you can simply wander up to the terminal after a night on the town, in search of transport for the journey home. To use the service, customers must have verified their ID and driving license via a video call and a credit car reservation.
Raimund Thomandl, head of service for Audi in Germany, said: “Digital service check-in helps us to reduce service bottlenecks and gives the Audi dealership’s service advisors more time to spend with customers. The Audi Service Station saves the dealership time while offering customers added convenience and flexibility.”
There’s no word on whether or not the digital assistant has mastered the sharp intake of breath and chin-scratching technique required when you request an invoice for the work that has been carried out.
Following a pilot at two dealers in Munich, the digital Service Station will be rolled out in 30 locations throughout Germany. If it proves successful, we’d expect it to launch in the UK at a later date.
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