Volkswagen and Volkswagen und Audi Partnerverband (the VW/Audi dealer association) have agreed a new sales model for the all-electric ID family in Germany.

A format similar to the agency model for major customers which, the automaker said, had "already proven its worth over many years" would now also apply for ID models sold to private customers and small businesses.

Following agreement by retail dealerships, the agency agreement is to be added to new dealer contracts that come into effect from April.

In their role as agents, dealers will make arrangements for selling the EVs to private customers and small commercial enterprises. This primarily relates to acquisition, sales consultation, organising test drives, transaction processing and vehicle handover in coordination with VW.

The customer's preferred dealer receives a commission and a bonus identical to showroom based business even if the vehicle is bought online.

The dealer is no longer concerned with vehicle financing and the sales process is simplified because the dealer no longer needs to negotiate the price, VW said.

Holger Santel, VW's head of sales and marketing for Germany, said: "The agency agreement is a further important milestone in the forward-looking orientation of our sales model. For the first time, we will be the customer's direct contractual partner, while their familiar [dealer] remains involved in the process as the agent. This partner can focus primarily on its role as a customer consultant and we also reduce the financial burden. The concept takes account of the shift in customer expectations towards a seamless buying experience between online and offline worlds."

Dirk Weddigen von Knapp, chairman of the dealer association, said: "The new agency agreement gives our partners reliable and calculable compensation regardless of whether the customer buys their vehicle online or from the dealer. At the same time, the manufacturer takes responsibility for marketing the vehicles and for their residual value."

VW claims the agency model enables the customer to switch seamlessly between online and offline channels during the various stages of the buying process. Subject to the customer's consent, available data about him and his vehicle is used to communicate with him individually and consistently across all stages.

A new IT system called Thunder is being developed for this purpose and will make its debut at dealers with the launch of the ID line.

ID model configuration will become significantly simpler for the customer compared with the procedure for current models, VW claims, adding it will take only 10 clicks to define the entire vehicle.

In future, the customer will be able to switch seamlessly between online and offline channels during the buying process.