Hyundai customers can now buy and take delivery of a new car without visiting a showroom.
A new web-based service has been launched in partnership with Rockar. It's made up of an online dealership - 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.
How does the buying process work?
The website's 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 choose to have the car delivered to their home, without visiting Bluewater.
'The key is that everything is transparent,' said Hyundai UK boss Tony Whitehorn. 'We’ll present customers with all the facts online, give them the choice of visiting the dealership and if they choose to buy a car this way we will make it as quick and simple as we can for them. It won’t be for everyone, but I do believe it reflects a changing way in which people are buying cars.'
What if I want to do things the old-fashioned way?
If buying a car online is a bit much, you can go to the store and be guided through the process. The store itself differs from a traditional car dealership, though; there are just three Hyundai models on display and no salesman sitting behind desks. Instead there's a number of Rockar 'Angels' on hand to guide you through the process.
Once at Bluewater you can also take a test drive. You book a slot on the website and then can take the car out on your own without a salesman in tow.
Cars can also be serviced at Bluewater, although when the owner arrives a technician will collect it and take it away to be serviced. However, the owner can make use of all the facilities at Bluewater before driving home in their car once the work has been done.
What Car? says...
Being able to buy a car online sounds fantastic, but we would never recommend buying a new car without test driving it yourself first, so it's good to hear that Bluewater offers this facility. Having the option of servicing in a convenient location and at times better suited to those who work adds to the appeal.
The downside to the digital showroom 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'.
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.