Italian sports car brand Abarth has announced that prospective buyers can now take a test drive from the comfort of their own sofa thanks to virtual reality.
The firm behind a host of Fiat-based hot hatches has announced the world-first approach as dealers look for ways to continue operating under Covid restrictions.
Lockdown and travel restrictions have hit car sales hard, with customers unable to visit showrooms and test drive cars. Many companies have turned to innovative online methods, including video walkrounds of cars and now Abarth is going a step further, offering to bring the test drive to the customer.
Admitting that the VR experience can’t really make up for the actual feel of getting behind the wheel, Abarth claims the “test drive” in the limited edition Abarth 595 Scorpioneoro offers a “fully immersive and exhilarating alternative”.
The footage features a drive along some of the most famous roads in north Wales, as voted for by Abarth drivers, including stretches around Great Orme, Llyn Ogwen and Black Rock Sands. It also includes a product introduction and walkaround by automotive influencer, Stef Villaverde.
Customers signing up for the test drive trial will receive an Abarth crate delivered to their front. Inside the crate will be a VR headset pre-loaded with the test drive footage and a pair of headphones plus a brochure and host Abarth branded goodies.
Alternatively, anyone with a VR headset can access the video here.
The experience is being offered via one Abarth dealer at the moment but if the trial is a success the brand says it could roll it out to more dealerships.
Arnaud Leclerc, managing director of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles UK, said: “We are delighted to be able to offer this innovative test drive approach to our customers and Abarth fans. This VR experience allows customers to enjoy the thrill of driving a 595, but from the safety of their own homes.”