Buying a car during a pandemic: Joburg car dealer offers virtual test drives

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Digi cars
Digi cars

• The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the way transactions take place.

• Many car dealerships have pivoted to offer online sales to customers. 

• Sandton-based dealership Digi Cars launches Livestore– a groundbreaking virtual test drive experience. 

• Digi cars says the automotive retail landscape is changing and dealers need to adapt. 


The global coronavirus pandemic has thrown the world into turmoil and many traditional retail companies have pivoted towards an online sales platform.

This type of business is particular difficult in the motor industry where traditionally consumers have visited a location to view a vehicle and test drive it.

The coronavirus punctured the way cars are bought and sold and one dealership in South Africa has cottoned onto the digital revolution in a big way. Digicars, based in Sandton Johannesburg noted that public researches and acquires goods were predominantly online and well before lockdown measures were introduced.  


Digi Cars
Digi Cars


The pre-owned car company offers a unique digital buying process which customers can use to browse and "test drive" stock from the comfort of home.

The dealership’s recently-launched Livestore platform adds extra detail to conventional dealership websites, and affords customers a live, one-on-one digital walkaround and actual test drive, on the road, with a sales executive. says the company.

The 'Livestore' journey is fully interactive and customers can ask any questions in real time as the video tour and drive happen.

Digi Cars
Digi Cars

How to test drive a car virtually

People looking to browse or test drive can schedule a Livestore test drive via the Digi Cars website, and provided the request is made within business hours, contact will be made within 20 minutes. Responses to after-hours requests will be made by 9am the following morning. After customers advise on a suitable date and time for the event, they are sent a unique link via email or Whatsapp to initiate the experience with a simple click.

"Drastic changes are afoot and if you’re in the automotive retail space, and not looking at adaptation, your days are numbered," says Digi Cars COO, Ayesha Patel.

"Many South African business models have historically been slow to react to the rapidly changing world around us, but we’ve seen the warning signs abroad and we’re thinking on our feet to deliver a next-generation buying journey for car shoppers," Patel said.  

Digi Cars
Digi Cars

All available stock is listed online and detailed information about each car allows shoppers to peruse the virtual showroom at their own pace. Like with major online shopping sites, preferred vehicles can be added to a comparison basket for even greater detail, and with a click it’s possible to begin a streamlined buying journey.

Digi Cars'  team is on call to guide the process at every step via phone, email or Whatsapp, and its qualified finance and insurance (F&I) managers will advise buyers on how to get the best value in the transaction before signing a contract and concluding the deal.

Delivery to the customer's door

Finally the Digi Cars Customer Experience team will explain the delivery process, exchange policy and Consumer Protection Act (CPA) details, before collection at the dealership or delivery direct to your door is arranged.

Digi Cars
Digi Cars


"Digital sales channels were not borne out of the pandemic and the inability or reluctance to be in public spaces. They are what consumers want and expect now, and digital sales trends grew alongside the internet. It's time car dealers caught up and Digi Cars is proud to be at the forefront of the multichannel sales concept in South Africa," concluded Patel.


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