Italian carmakers Fiat invite prospective buyers to customize, test drive and buy the new Fiat 500 from the comfort of their own homes.
A recent Fiat press release told customers they can get behind the virtual wheel of the new Fiat 500 and take it for a spin around a digital twin of the La Pista 500 racetrack, in its Fiat Metaverse Store.
Virtual test drive in a virtual world
In a Dember 1 announcement, Fiat announced that Fiat “reinvents the digital experience” with their new virtual showroom. Beginning with the sales experience itself customers can customize, configure and complete their purchase of the company’s new electric vehicle, the 500 La Prima by Bocelli.
In an effort to seal the deal customers can also drive a virtual recreation of their car around a virtual recreation of the La Pista 500 rooftop racetrack. Precisely what information car drivers are supposed to glean from the test drive is less clear.
Fiat has branded its virtual showroom a “magical experience,” ignoring the impracticality of recreating a fully realistic driving simulation in the virtual plane.
“At FIAT we are once again the front-runners in offering our customers an innovative and stress-free brand experience,” said Olivier Francois, Fiat CEO.
“In pure FIAT style, the FIAT Metaverse Store is the first of its kind in the automotive sector. It is a magical experience: an immersive human-driven journey into the world of FIAT.”
While the digital test drive may strain credulity, Fiat is on stronger ground with the rest of its claims. Via its digital showroom customers can interact with a real Fiat salesperson or “product genius” as they call them, and be able to fully customize the Fiat 500. In time the manufacturer hopes to offer the entire range of Fiat 500s through their virtual showroom.
Fiat is keen to stress the innovation of their virtual showroom and the possibilities it opens for their customers. They are not the first car manufacturer to offer virtual test drives, however.
Fiat follows in Skoda’s tread marks
In November Skoda announced the launch of the Skodaverse, a virtual 3D environment in which users are encouraged to guide virtual avatars around the world to “make friends,” “discover NFTs,” “play games,” “visit expo” and finally “go for a ride.”
While customers might expect the Skodaverse to strongly feature Skodas, the car manufacturer has also included a limited series of 30 non-fungible tokens (NFTs)
Inside the Skodaverse participants can see the “We Love Cycling” NFT collection; a series of artworks celebrating female cyclists. That’s an unlikely find in a real car showroom.