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BearingPoint study: Polestar trails Tesla in online new car sales

AMSTERDAM–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Management and technology consultancy BearingPoint’s latest study on the state of online new car sales assesses the online sales performance of major OEMs and identifies areas where they need to improve to catch up with Tesla and differentiate. Online new car stores are popping up in all major markets around the world, and car manufacturers (OEMs) are rightly establishing digital journeys to enable new business models and the implementation of direct selling strategies.

Christoph Landgrebe, Partner at BearingPoint: “To be and remain competitive, automakers need to make huge investments to successfully convert their traditional sales channels to online sales by implementing state-of-the-art technology. Above all, an online car selling champion quickly adapts to changing customer buying behavior and frees up the resources needed to sell online. It’s about knowing how important individual elements of the sales process are to the customer and their competitive position — and that doesn’t look particularly good for traditional manufacturers. There is still a lot of room for improvement. »

Competition intensifies

The new study again categorizes OEMs into three phases of the customer journey: pre-sales, sales and handover, with a total of 17 touchpoints assessed. Each touchpoint has four levels of maturity which are rated by degree of achievement – 0 for no achievement to 3 for maximum achievement, leading to a maximum score of 51 points. Tesla again claimed the top spot in all markets assessed.

Although Tesla remains the global champion in direct sales, it now has a challenger with a similar business model to Polestar, the Swedish car brand acquired by Volvo in 2015. Polestar provides a mature online store with superb usability and design. Mercedes-Benz also had a respectable score with its online store in the UK. A large number of new volume OEMs like Citroën, Renault and FIAT have launched online shops in all European markets, so the competition is increasing significantly.

Doubling of online stores in just one year

The number of online stores in the assessed markets nearly doubled, from 31 to 60, compared to the 2021 study, indicating a very vibrant online sales market in 2022. BearingPoint identified 14 new OEMs selling their new cars online, noting that Stellantis Group brands have introduced a template solution that can be used for multiple brands and markets for faster scaling.

The study showed that France, Italy and Spain had the highest market growth, moving at the same level as their European neighbors. Germany and Spain lead the continent in terms of available online stores. China remains the number one market for online sales in terms of quantity, and it had the most number of online stores rated with 12.

The US market still lags other regions with seven online stores, but shows good growth compared to the previous year when only four stores were assessed. The stock car character of the US market allows for lighter stores that focus primarily on dealer stock cars.

Differentiation is increasingly difficult

According to the study, as an increasing number of OEMs offer online shopping every year, differentiation is increasingly difficult. “An online store is no longer a differentiator: brands can only differentiate themselves by providing leading practices in user experience and design, combined with an exceptional quality of service seamlessly integrated” , said Christoph Landgrebe.

This year, the study highlights the Lucid car configurator in the United States and Tesla order tracking as two leading practices. Additionally, virtual reality has been identified as a white spot that could help OEMs stand out from the competition by bringing the dealership directly to the customer’s home.

The study found that most online stores still lack important features, customer journeys are far from seamless, and differentiation is hard to come by, which is reflected in similar scores among online stores. line evaluated. “The success of new competitors such as Tesla or Polestar suggests that one of the biggest challenges for automakers is internal systems and processes inherited from the customer journey, which slow down implementation and deployment processes with their technical complexity. Many manufacturers are faced with the question of whether to rethink their existing landscape or go straight for a completely new approach,” says Christoph Landgrebe.

As in last year’s study, differences can be found depending on the market, with OEMs providing fundamentally different online stores in different markets, especially when comparing Europe, China and the United States. -United. Creating and rolling out a comprehensive plan seems like a challenge. Nevertheless, BearingPoint has identified that in Europe many OEMs have started to introduce such a model solution.

“Legacy OEMs need to ensure they are not left behind when it comes to online sales, which would impact the overall sales performance of individual brands. Legacy automakers are currently still too far from the customer compared to champions products identified in the study, which we have honored with our sale prices,” said Dr. Stefan Penthin, global automotive leader at BearingPoint.

About the study

BearingPoint once again analyzed online offerings from major OEMs in China, the US and Europe and assessed their readiness for online sales, identified best practices and derived recommendations for action. The study also assessed how OEMs respond to changing customer needs throughout the digital customer journey, particularly the shopping experience. Since the new car market is diverse and customer behavior differs from market to market, the scope of the study was designed to include the major global automotive markets – China, USA and Western Europe. The assessment of online car stores was carried out in all markets in December 2021.

You can download the study here to learn more, including a detailed analysis and ranking of OEMs:

About BearingPoint

Bearing Point is an independent management and technology consultancy with European roots and global reach. The company operates in three business units: The first unit covers consulting activities with a clear focus on selected business areas. The second unit provides IP-based digital assets and managed services beyond SaaS. The third unit is designed to explore innovative business models with clients and partners by driving start-up funding and development and leveraging ecosystems.

BearingPoint customers include many of the world’s largest companies and organizations. The firm has a global consultant network of more than 10,000 people and supports clients in more than 70 countries, engaging with them to achieve measurable and sustainable success.

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