Hyundai launches digital dealership
* Buy a new Hyundai online * No need to speak to a salesman * New car sales and Hyundai servicing at Bluewater...
Hyundai has teamed up with Rockar to modernise the car-buying process.
The new experience is made up of an online dealership - found at www.rockar.com - and a shop in Bluewater shopping centre in Kent.
Buyers can complete the whole transaction without setting foot in the store, or they can head to Bluewater to be guided through the process and test drive their potential purchase.
Rockar doesn't sell used cars, it sticks to new cars and servicing.
How does it work? Well, the whole process has had a two-year gestation period and has been designed to be as user-friendly as possible. It's possible to log on to the website and buy a car in less than five minutes.
The car finder allows you to part-exchange your current car, choose and spec your new car and also shows you a number of buying options including PCP and cash. The buyer can then place their order and even choose to have the car delivered to their home, meaning there's no need to go to the shop in Bluewater at all.
If that all seems a bit much, you can go to the store and be guided through the process. The store itself differs from a traditional car dealership. There are three models on display and there are no salesman hiding behind desks. Instead you're greeted by a Rockar Angel, a salesman who isn't a salesman. The angel is there to help you with anything you need but isn't there to give you the hard sell. There is no commission for them so the idea is that they'll advise you on the best car to meet your needs rather than sell you something that might not be quite right.
Test drives have also been given a shake up. You can book a Youdrive online - Rockar's take on the test drive - and then take the car out yourself for an hour.
Servicing has also been updated. The owner drives their Hyundai to Bluewater, where a technician collects it and takes it away to be serviced. Meanwhile the owner can make use of all the facilities at Bluewater before driving home in their car once the work has been done.
Another big change is that there is no opportunity to haggle, neither on the part-exchange value, nor on the price of the new car. The price you see on the website is the price you pay. The prices are lower than Hyundai's on-the-road price but not quite as cheap as some brokers'.
Is this the future of car buying?
It's hard to say. It certainly is quick and easy and those who are put off by traditional dealerships will be pleasantly surprised.
However, if you enjoy haggling you will almost certainly be able to find the same car cheaper elsewhere. For example, a Hyundai i10 1.2 Premium has a list price of £10,810. Rockar will sell you the same car for £10,139 while Drivethedeal.com will charge you £9594, a saving of £1216 on list price.