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Friday, May 24, 2024

Amazon to sell cars online, starting with Hyundai

It was inevitable. Amazon, which got its start selling books, is getting into the car business.

The e-commerce giant along with new partner Hyundai announced Thursday at the 2023 LA Auto Show that it will start selling vehicles on its website in the second half of 2024. Hyundai vehicles will be the first vehicles sold on Amazon.com’s U.S. store with other brands following later in the year.

The Amazon car sales section will allow customers to shop for vehicles in their area based on a range of preferences, including model, trim, color, and features, choose their preferred car, and then check out online with their chosen payment and financing options. Customers will be able to buy a vehicle online and then pick it up or have it delivered by their local dealership, according to Amazon.

Amazon already sells car accessories and operates an “Amazon Vehicle Showrooms” site that allows manufacturers to advertise. But until now, customers couldn’t actually buy that car, truck or SUV they were researching.

Amazon says this shopping experience “will create another way for dealers to build awareness of their selection and offer convenience to their customers,” language that suggests dealerships are on board with this move. The structure still rewards dealerships, unlike the direct sales models that completely sidestep the business model. When vehicles go on sale at Amazon, the local Hyundai dealer will be the seller of record.

Mike Sullivan, the president and owner of several LA-area dealerships, including the Hyundai Santa Monica location, publicly supported the news while on stage at the LA Auto Show.

“We’re now partnering with one of the world’s leading digital retailers,” Sullivan said. “They’ve led the way in delivering customer convenience, and now they’re going to help us take our customer experience to the next level. Amazon also brings massive reach and marketing power to connect to more customers. We can’t wait to get started.”

Hyundai and Amazon are also partnering in other areas, the companies announced Thursday. Hyundai said it will use Amazon Web Services as its preferred cloud provider and will integrate Alexa voice assistant in the automaker’s next generation of vehicles starting in 2025.

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