NEW YORK (AP) — Want to buy a car on Amazon? Well, now you may get your chance.
The e-commerce giant will begin vehicle sales in the US next year and allow local car dealers to sell directly to customers on its site.
In a joint announcement with carmaker Hyundai on Thursday, the two companies said Amazon will start by offering Hyundai vehicles. In return, Hyundai will designate Amazon’s cloud computing unit AWS as its preferred cloud provider and integrate its next-generation vehicles with Amazon’s popular voice assistant Alexa.
According to Amazon, the idea is to have customers buy a new car online and pick it up at their local dealer – or have it delivered.
Amazon did not say how many dealers would participate in the program or whether customers across the US would be able to make purchases. An Amazon spokesperson said the company will release more details as it builds the program, which is expected to start with Hyundai franchised dealers and launch late next year.
Currently, Amazon sells vehicle accessories online and offers a showroom for consumers who want to research different types of cars they want to buy. But consumers cannot buy vehicles directly on its platform.
However, Thursday’s announcement reflects Amazon’s ambitions to expand its penetration through dealers in an industry that has strong lobbying forces and heavy state regulations. Almost all states require manufacturers to sell their vehicles through dealerships to ensure that automakers do not cut into their network of franchised dealers.
Regardless of its approach, Amazon may face challenges in convincing consumers who don’t feel comfortable making such large purchases on its platform. In a statement, an Amazon spokesperson said customers are increasingly buying vehicles online and the company will “provide a range of solutions that add transparency” to the car buying process to help them make an informed decision.