By on July 18, 2018

2018 Hyundai Kona Rear - Image: Hyundai
Yesterday was Amazon’s self-proclaimed shopping holiday — “Prime Day” or, as we like to call it, “the Lonesome Christmas.” But you already knew that, because our corporate overlords mandated a reminder necessary to help procure the revenue that yields us the modestly priced vehicles and canned soups we’ve become accustomed to.

Unfortunately, if you were surfing the website in the hopes if finding a good deal on an automobile, you were out of luck. Amazon didn’t have cars as of yesterday, but it’s making swift progress on that. The digital retailer launched a research site in 2016 that allowed customers to gather information while amassing auto parts, accessories, and tools — which can be purchased and delivered to your home.

The site is now taking things a step further, adding real cars. As of July 18th, its partnership with Hyundai extends beyond just Alexa integration via the automaker’s Blue Link technology. Amazon Vehicles promotes actual, physical cars, allowing you to browse and customize them much like you would a pair of pants, via a virtual showroom. 

While the technology isn’t novel, the strategy is. Amazon customers can use the website to compare pricing, reviews, schedule test drives, and check dealer inventories using Hyundai’s Shopper Assurance. While there are other websites that allow you to engage in similar research, partnering directly with the largest online retailer is a big deal and should be advantageous for Hyundai — especially since it’s the only brand with access right now. Amazon is happy to send researchers directly to the automaker’s preferred web portals.

“This collaboration with Amazon provides customers with the ability to learn about Hyundai vehicles in a way that matches their expectations for nearly every other type of purchase,” said Tim Maxwell, senior group manager, digital marketing, Hyundai Motor America. “Hyundai and its dealers are modernizing the car buying process, so it made sense for us to be the first car company with its own digital showroom.”

Presumably, the service will eventually be expanded to include other manufacturers — if things run smoothly. Hyundai’s special relationship with Amazon is probably good enough to garner early access, but we doubt it’ll be sufficient to keep things exclusive. The automaker first collaborated with the website in 2016 with “Prime Now, Drive Now,” its first-to-market on-demand vehicle test drive program (which allowed prospective buyers to book test drives through Amazon Prime Now). Hyundai also connects its cars with customer homes using Amazon Echo and Blue Link for Amazon Alexa.

There’s a lot of corporate back scratching taking place these days, but this could very well spin into something bigger. The marketing opportunities are already immense, but imagine if Amazon also started financing you and dropped off vehicles at your home. The future could be a very weird place to live.

[Image: Hyundai]

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