Volvo Cars has launched a new online car buying service which it says is the "most comprehensive" of its kind in the UK.


Buyers can use the service to choose options for their new car, arrange the part exchange of their old vehicle and if required, sign a finance agreement using a digital signature - with the latter completed in a matter of just 20 minutes.


Consumers can choose to configure a model in the factory, or to choose a car already in stock at a dealership. Pricing is set by the specific retailer to which the order is linked.


Right now, the Volvo configurator can only be used when purchasing the XC40, but the system is expected to be rolled out across the model line up in the coming weeks.


Finance options include cash, PCP or PCH - although the latter will only be possible using the electronic signature later this year.


Volvo UK managing director, Jon Wakefield, said: “Whether online or offline, the way people buy cars has changed. Customers now have much more control over the process, and Volvo Online helps them to take that one step further.


"It makes life as easy as possible without compromising on choice or security, and lets customers drive the purchase process when it’s most convenient for them.”


Buyers will be given a 'live quote' as they add or remove options.


Wakefield added: “It is very clear that we are entering this space in order to learn. By engaging in this way with our customers we will find out what they want. Our expectation is that a significant number will enjoy the process as part of the transaction, and as we learn we can adapt our service.”


Wakefield points out that individual dealers will be able to set their own pricing.


The new online car buying service faces stiff competition from intermediary automotive websites that work alongside retailers to sell cars, often at reduced prices.


As such, few would consider the Volvo service revolutionary, but as Wakefield says, it does give you "a guiding hand, with a stress-free brand experience.”