Ever dreamt of simply configuring and buying a car online? That’s just what Alibab is doing with it’s Tmall online megastore. Under the pact with BMW, Alibaba’s Tmall “will become the main e-commerce platform for MINI online car sales in China” and debut new and special-edition models, according to a statement on Yahoo Finance. Alibaba’s new automotive business, Alibaba Automotive, will also help Mini with research and marketing efforts.
That last part is critical as Alababa has nailed the all important Chinese market and MINI is itching to grow marketshare. The program kicked off this spring with the limited Into Tibet edition MINI Countryman priced at RMB 399,000, or nearly $65,000. What do you get for the money? Read on.
For the $65k you get one of 75 of the limited-edition MINIs with special paint, headlights, rims, navigation system and “Into Tibet” badging. The car is named for the brand’s sponsored Web documentary about a cross-country road trip last year that saw a Chinese family drive a MINI Paceman to the foothills of Mt. Everest.
Launching the limited edition MINI on Tmall is just the latest move by the automaker to reach Chinese consumers via the Web, said Kim Wang, e-commerce manager at BMW and MINI in China. “Selling a special model on Tmall is our latest innovation in e–commerce, which enables us to communicate and interact with consumers through Internet directly. In this way, we are able to raise our brand profile and expand a new sales channel.”
Both MINI and BMW have flagship stores on Alibaba Group-owned Tmall, China’s largest B2C site. BMW’s Tmall flagship store, which was launched last year, recently expanded to offer a full range of services. The e-shop now sells cars, parts and accessories, brand-related merchandise, drivers training courses, as well as offering online booking for maintenance. BMW is the first premium car maker to provide a full range of online services in China.