E-commerce giant strikes deal with Hyundai
Starting in 2024, consumers in the US will be able to buy Hyundai vehicles from the Amazon platform.
Amazon, the e-commerce giant that started with the ambition to be the “everything store”, is taking another step towards its goal by adding a new product to its “basket”: cars. Starting in 2024, consumers in the US will be able to browse the platform and buy Hyundai vehicles, in a first-of-its-kind deal with an automaker. “This new shopping experience will create another way for dealers to gain awareness of their selection and provide convenience to their customers,” Amazon said in a related post. Since it started as an “online bookseller” in 1994, the company has expanded into many areas, including cloud computing and financial and medical services. Lately, it has started moving into the automotive space, offering virtual showrooms for certain brands and price comparison tools, as well as auto parts and accessories.
“Customers see how easy it is to buy products on Amazon, and they want that same convenience when they buy a car,” Jose Munoz, CEO of Hyundai Motor, said at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Prospective buyers will be able to search Amazon's website for available vehicles in their area based on their preferred model, color and features, then complete the process using their chosen payment and financing options. As part of the partnership between the two companies, Hyundai will include Amazon's Alexa technology in its cars from 2025.
Being able to choose a vehicle online is nothing new. Many car dealers have been using a variety of e-commerce platforms for a long time. The new agreement, however, highlights among other things how the traditional car buying experience is being transformed in the post-COVID era. During the pandemic, automakers expanded home delivery programs due to extended lockdowns, while dealers enriched their websites to help customers virtually tour their showrooms. Hyundai said that initially only 15 to 20 dealers will be able to sell its vehicles through Amazon, but the number will increase by the end of next year. “Will it help us sell more cars? Yes, we believe so,” says Muñoz. Amazon, for its part, expects to increase the number of car brands available through the platform by the end of next year.
In recent years, consumers have been embracing the idea of bypassing car dealerships. , especially when it comes to newer models of electric vehicles. Customers typically hate the car-buying process, with most surveys showing that the dealership experience tops people's most unpleasant experiences, the Verge writes. Tesla helped launch a new process in which customers buy their vehicles directly through the company's website. Forty-eight US states of note have laws that restrict or prohibit manufacturers from selling vehicles directly to consumers. The Amazon – Hyundai deal neatly sidesteps this issue by ensuring that dealers remain a critical part of the process.