Amazon in talks to sell cars online in the UK

28 October 2019

28 October 2019

Retail giant Amazon is in talks with UK car manufacturers to bypass dealerships and sell vehicles directly through its online platform.

The company is looking to partner with several different carmakers to provide as much choice as possible to consumers, who when buying a car through the website would have it delivered straight to their door. The move is another example of the proliferation of online sales, a model some automotive businesses are studying with intent.

Renault UK boss Vincent Tourette told Car Dealer Magazine that the company had been approached by Amazon. However, the French firm has decided against a partnership because it ′did not believe in bypassing dealers.’

PSA Group also confirmed to the magazine that it too held talks with Amazon.

Dealer confidence

′The benefits they [Amazon] would have is that they would be offering all brands – they would be multi-franchise,’ Tourette said. ′Amazon will try to go direct with manufacturers; they want to sell these cars directly. That is what has been discussed.’

He added that he believed Google was also investigating the option of selling cars directly to consumers, hinting that talks had taken place with the search giant as well.

′I think they are both in project mode at the moment and I am not sure how far down the line they are with it. I think logistics-wise you need strong logistics to sell cars so Amazon would probably be better placed right now.

′I want to support my dealers, so it is not something I am considering,’ added Tourette.

Online movement

Carmakers are looking at new ways to increase sales, offering cars directly to customers as they look to boost flagging figures. Many consumers shop online, so the ability to buy a car online is believed to be of appeal.

However, there are signs that drivers would rather visit a dealer when it comes to buying a new car. Tourette admitted to the publication that Dacia’s online sales platform, launched around a year ago as a trial, had only sold 90 cars. Tesla U-turned on its plans to scrap all its showrooms and move to an online-only model last year as well.

Click distribution

Other brands are relying on their dealer networks when it comes to offering online sales. Volvo launched a new platform earlier this year, designed to give its drivers more information about the total cost of ownership (TCO) of its models.

′Every type of buyer is catered for, whether they require a personal contract purchase (PCP) or personal contract hire (PCH) agreement, a conditional sale or a cash purchase,’ the company said. ′They can even part-exchange their old vehicle, apply for finance and sign their agreement via e-signature, all from the comfort of their home or office. From start to finish, the entire process can take as little as 20 minutes to complete.’

Whether Amazon, which relies upon its own distribution network to ensure efficiency and quality, would continue with plans to sell cars directly to the public remains to be seen. In the US, it already offers customers the ability to search and compare vehicles on its site, but not the option to buy. Customers can research on the site and then connect to the manufacturers’ portal for more information.