At last week’s Los Angeles Auto Show, the announcement by Hyundai of a deal that will allow buyers to purchase their vehicle via Amazon was arguably the biggest news of the event.
Post-announcement, discussions with representatives on site quickly made clear, however, that the program will not be offered in Canada, at least for the time being.
Hyundai Canada’s director of Media Relations Jennifer McCarthy spoke this week with Automotive News and gave the official company line on it: “We will closely monitor the progress of this pilot project, but cannot confirm whether it will one day be offered in Canada.”
The U.S. program starts up in January and will initially involve 18 dealerships. A wider roll-out is expected in the second half of the year. The collaboration between Hyundai and Amazon aims to innovative experiences to customers of both companies.
Hyundai CEO Jaehoon Chang said the partnership “opens up incredible horizons” for the automaker as it expands its range, develops its sales network and transitions to electrification.
When asked about it at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Frédéric Mercier, Quebec Product and Public Relations Manager for Hyundai Canada, pointed out that Hyundai has a similar program in Canada. “Consumers have a similar option with the "Click to Buy" program. This allows people to complete the model selection and purchase process online. Eventually, they have to go to a dealership to pick up the model.”
We're guessing that American consumers will have to do the same. It's hard to see an Amazon Prime van starting to deliver vehicles. It is mentioned, however, that some form of delivery will be possible.
Jennifer McCarthy also confided to Automotive News that “We are currently working on a number of large enhancements to more deeply integrate this platform with other dealership systems and our focus is to create a truly seamless omni-channel experience from online to dealer showroom.”
Hyundai will be the first carmaker to use Amazon's digital retail tool to complete an A-to-Z transaction.
The automaker says that dealers will continue to play a role in online sales. Hyundai's Amazon section will showcase dealers' inventory and easily connect them with buyers in the marketplace. Consumers will also be able to search for vehicles and SUVs in stock in their area based on their preferences, including model, colour, trim level and equipment.