They say buying a car is the second most important purchasing decision an adult can make, after choosing where to live, and it’s probably true.
Motorists typically go to extraordinary lengths when shopping for their next car. Research from 2015 found that used car buyers on average spend 27 hours researching a vehicle, travel 48 miles and attend four viewings before parting with their cash.
The sad thing is that even after all this groundwork, many still regret their purchase – almost seven in ten actually, according to a survey of 1,000 drivers conducted by online used car seller Carspring.
Click to buy
So with this level of personal investment – both time and financially – would you ever buy a car with the click of a button?
Well, from 2017, you will be able to when Hyundai launches its ‘Click To Buy’ service.
This means that customers will be able to purchase a brand new car in about five minutes through Hyundai’s website. No showroom, no forecourt, no salesperson, no haggling, not even a test drive – it sounds about as simple as ordering a new duvet set through Argos.
Once ordered and paid for, the new car can be delivered to a nearby Hyundai dealership for collection or delivered to your home for a fee. So, technically, it’s possible to buy a new car without getting out of bed.
Those buying on finance – which is almost everyone (around 94 per cent apparently) – have to drop by a dealership to sort out payment plans, while those part-exchanging would have to whizz their old wheels round first.
Hyundai’s Click To Buy website launches on January 6th, 2017, and only the i10, i20, i30, Tucson and Santa Fe will be available through it initially. Other models like the electronically-fueled Ioniq will be added later in the year.
Discounts without dealers
For some time, going online was the only way you could buy a new Tesla in the UK. It’s only in the past couple of years that the electric car manufacturer has opened bricks-and-mortar showrooms, and even then, they’re more like futuristic retail stores in the vein of Apple.
Meanwhile in Italy, you can buy a new Fiat 500, 500L or Panda through Amazon, with a third off the retail asking price in certain cases.
It’s not as self-contained this time though because buyers have to visit a dealership to complete the purchase, but is it another nail in the coffin of car showrooms?
Most likely. With the possibility of a hefty discount, it seems fair to assume that there would be plenty of motorists ready to ditch dealerships, especially when it comes to cars as innocuous as the Fiat 500 or Hyundai i10 – safe models where you know what you’re getting.
We’ve already seen it on the high street with shoppers opting to buy online, leading to the demise of certain chains. What’s not to say this could happen in the car industry?
Personally, there does feel something reductive about the online car-buying process.
Buying a new car should be a memorable life event, not the extent of your wedding or the birth of your first child, but there are stats to prove that cars are a major part of our life.
Cars may be little more than a means of getting to and from work to some people, but people keep a new car for a considerable amount of time, six years on average, while the vast majority plan on keeping their car for ten years of more.
Doesn’t it deserve a little more respect and consideration than just clicking ‘buy now’?
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