Consumers have never loved going to the car dealership. The modern era of e-commerce is fundamentally altering that process.
Partnering with Amazon, Hyundai will now allow consumers to build, finance, and take delivery of a model entirely online.
By using Amazon's cloud services to build a new, digital marketplace for Hyundai models, the automaker is tip-toeing into the future of direct-to-consumer sales.
Online car shopping isn't exactly news, as brands like Carvana and CarMax have partially automated the buying and selling process. With payment quotes and the entire catalog of product information now found online, there are fewer reasons to actually head to the dealership, but Hyundai wants to take this one step further.
They're teaming up with Amazon to create an online marketplace for Hyundai models starting in 2024. The automaker will obviously be responsible for supplying the cars, but Amazon was picked as the cloud-providing partner, in addition to enabling Alexa voice controls in future Hyundai models.
"Amazon is the ideal partner to help realize our vision of progress for humanity, including improving how people and goods move more efficiently and sustainably. Hyundai is the first automotive company available for full end-to-end transactions in Amazon's US store..." said President and CEO of Hyundai Motor Company Jaehoon (Jay) Chang.
What exactly will this new digital marketplace look like? Hyundai says it will pair local dealerships with the company's broader Amazon marketplace, allowing customers to purchase a new car online and then pick it up or have it delivered at a time that works best for them.
Everything from trim choices and colors to detailed, customer-specific financing options will be available online, meaning buyers won't have to visit a dealership. Amazon's role in this whole transaction is largely information technology-based, focusing on its ability to compute, store, and analyze data as well as implement tools like security and disaster recovery.
The partnership doesn't stop there, as Hyundai says the hands-free Alexa experience—found in many homes and enabled by Amazon—will soon be available in most models. Starting in 2025, Hyundai owners can request their favorite music hands-free and manage their smart home from behind the wheel.
That's a big promise, considering the auto industry's spotty history with reliable voice-command systems. But Hyundai has distinguished itself in recent years for a stellar user experience and envelope-pushing design, so it's possible this partnership could set a gold standard for voice command systems going forward.
"Hyundai is a very innovative company that shares Amazon's passion for trying to make customers' lives better and easier every day," said Amazon CEO Andy Jassy.
It's unclear if any other automakers are considering the same sort of strategy, though Amazon says other automakers would be welcome to use this technology as well. Notably, only 15 to 20 Hyundai dealers (out of more than 800 in the US) will be initially able to sell vehicles through an agreement with Amazon, according to José Muñoz, president and COO of Hyundai Motor Company.
Similarly, this move by Hyundai takes another step toward direct-to-consumer sales, analysts say. By using Amazon as a digital middleman, Hyundai is inching closer to selling vehicles to consumers without the dealership network. This practice is banned or limited in 48 states, especially the delivery of a vehicle directly to a customer's home.
What concerns would you have about buying a car through Amazon? Privacy or Quality? Please share your thoughts below.