These days, it's possible to order virtually anything online—but for the most part, buying a car still requires going to a physical dealership and signing papers.
But, in one country at least, Volkswagen is experimenting with an alternative.
The German automaker is launching an online-sales scheme in Denmark for its Up minicar.
The program will only operate in that country, and only applies to the Up, which isn't available in the U.S.
Denmark was chosen for the program because of its citizens' penchant for online shopping, according to a VW press release.
Customers can order their cars via Volkswagen's Danish website, and make payments with a credit card or smartphone-payment service.
Volkswagen Up online sales in DenmarkEnlarge Photo
Cars are delivered from a central warehouse within 10 business days, VW says.
Requiring customers to choose from pre-existing inventory allows for the relatively quick turnaround.
Online Up sales in Denmark are limited to two trim levels, with a small amount of optional items, because of the need to pre-stock cars for delivery.
Launched in 2012, the Up is a city car substantially smaller than Volkswagen's popular Golf hatchback.
Gasoline versions use a 1.0-liter turbocharged 3-cylinder engine, but VW also offers an e-Up electric variant.
Customers who buy their cars online must still take delivery at Volkswagen dealers.
2016 Volkswagen Up!Enlarge Photo
In the U.S., it is illegal in many states for consumers to buy cars directly from manufacturers, owing to franchise laws that protect dealerships.
The matter has received significant attention lately because of Tesla Motors, which sells its electric cars directly to customers both online, and through company-owned retail stores.
Tesla remains barred from selling cars in certain states because of franchise laws, and continues to fight with state auto-dealer groups.
But other automakers have experimented with online-sales tools that erode the hegemony of franchised dealerships somewhat.
General Motors launched its "Shop-Click-Drive" tool, which allows shoppers to pre-select cars from dealer inventory online, in 2013, and added used cars to the program earlier this year.
In California, Hyundai will launch a new lease alternative for its Ioniq Electric model called "Ioniq Unlimited," which allows shoppers to complete most of the transaction online before visiting a dealership to sign forms and pick up their cars.