The site that ate retail could be about to take a chunk out of the car dealership model too, with Hyundai launching a first-of-its-kind "digital showroom" on Amazon.
The move has been made by Hyundai Motor America, with the brand becoming the first car manufacturer to launch a virtual dealership on the Amazon Vehicles car-research hub.
While customers can’t actually purchase a car through the Amazon portal, they can access real-time pricing information, search for a dealership and book a test drive. Hyundai has also shot bespoke marketing clips for the Amazon hub.
"This collaboration with Amazon provides customers with the ability to learn about Hyundai vehicles in a way that matches their expectations for nearly every other type of purchase," says Hyundai’s senior group manager of digital marketing, Tim Maxwell.
"Hyundai and its dealers are modernising the car-buying process, so it made sense for us to be the first car company with its own digital showroom."
There’s no immediate plant to introduce something similar in Australia, but executives will be watching Amazon’s impact on the American market closely.
"As with all overseas brand activity, we’re interested in it and following it closely," said one Hyundai spokesperson. "But it’s not something we’re planning on right now."
Amazon turning its considerable attention to eventually selling new cars online, internationally at least, is seen as a question of when, rather than if, by American analysts.
In Australia, brands like Subaru have sold models exclusively online, while Holden has been trialling an online sales portal since February this year. Private startups like HelloCars have also entered the virtual dealership space.
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