Amazon, a company that revolutionized online retail starting with books, is now expanding its vast e-commerce empire into the automotive sector. Announced at the 2023 LA Auto Show, Amazon has partnered with Hyundai to start selling cars online, marking a significant shift in the car buying experience. Slated to begin in the second half of 2024, Hyundai vehicles will be the initial offerings on Amazon.com’s U.S. store, with other brands expected to join later in the year.
This new venture by Amazon is set to transform how customers purchase vehicles. The online car sales section on Amazon will provide a platform where customers can browse a wide selection of vehicles based on their preferences, such as model, trim, color, and features. Once they’ve made their choice, customers can complete their purchase online, selecting their preferred payment and financing options. The process includes the convenience of either picking up the vehicle from their local dealership or opting for delivery.
While Amazon has previously dabbled in the automotive sector by selling car accessories and operating an “Amazon Vehicle Showrooms” site for manufacturers to advertise, this marks the first time customers will be able to purchase cars directly through the website. This move represents a significant evolution in Amazon’s automotive offerings, transitioning from mere research and advertising to actual sales.
Amazon’s approach to online car sales is designed to complement the existing dealership model. The structure ensures that local dealerships remain integral to the sales process, aligning with traditional dealership business models rather than adopting a direct sales approach that bypasses dealerships entirely. When vehicles become available on Amazon, the corresponding local Hyundai dealer will be recognized as the seller of record, maintaining the traditional dealership’s role in the car buying process.
The announcement was met with enthusiasm from industry insiders, including Mike Sullivan, president and owner of several LA-area dealerships, including Hyundai Santa Monica. Speaking at the LA Auto Show, Sullivan expressed excitement about the partnership, highlighting Amazon’s reputation for customer convenience and its potential to elevate the customer experience in car buying. He also noted Amazon’s extensive reach and marketing capabilities as key factors in connecting with more customers.
Beyond just online sales, Hyundai and Amazon are deepening their collaboration in other areas. Hyundai announced its plan to utilize Amazon Web Services as its preferred cloud provider. Additionally, the automaker intends to integrate Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant into its next generation of vehicles starting in 2025, further blending automotive technology with digital innovation.
In conclusion, Amazon’s foray into online car sales, starting with its partnership with Hyundai, marks a significant development in the automotive industry. This initiative not only offers a new, convenient way for customers to purchase vehicles but also indicates the evolving role of digital platforms in traditional industries. With Amazon’s entry into this space, the future of car buying is poised to become more integrated with digital retail experiences, potentially setting new trends in how vehicles are marketed, sold, and even integrated with other technologies. As Amazon and Hyundai kickstart this venture, the automotive industry is set to witness a new era of digital-driven sales and customer engagement.