The auto industry is changing – fast. Consumers are not only being projected to be less likely to buy cars in the coming years, but if they do buy cars, the process will HAVE to be easier. Quickly disappearing (and already gone for the most part) are the days of being able to haggle with customers on the lot. No consumer ever wanted that – and emerging technology is forcing the process out of the salesperson’s hands.
Instead of getting caught up in the way things were and flailing around trying to keep it that way, many OEMs are facing the change head on. Hyundai is one of those brands. While the company revealed a new race car at the recent Chicago Auto Show, it was pretty obvious what the real news was – Shopper Assurance.
What is Hyundai Shopper Assurance and how does it work?
Without truly seeing it in action yet, Hyundai Shopper Assurance sounds like a real effort to make the car buying process easier. Clearly, Hyundai has seen brands like Amazon and even Wal Mart with its new product pickup program make life easier for consumers. This is what the people want. They will still buy retail, but they demand a easier way to do it – or they’ll simply find another way..
Hyundai Shopper Assurance has four main components: true online pricing listing online (all rebates and incentives included), flexible test drives at a customer’s choice of location, digital retailing (essentially completing a deal online instead of in a salesperson’s office), and a three-day money-back guarantee. Each one of these components takes a staple of the traditional car buying process away – but also, each one traditionally was a pain point for customers. That’s the idea.
Transparent online pricing, flexible test drive location, digital retail, three-day money-back guarantee
It’s interesting to see an OEM dive into the concept on their own, essentially forcing the franchise owners that champion their brand to operate a certain way – and a way that could potentially bring them less profits. But, this isn’t the first we’ve seen of this concept. Clearly, Hyundai and others are bracing for the market changes that are already being brought on by car brands like Tesla, and new models like Carvana and others. And dealer website companies and third-party tool providers have already been touting many of these advances as well, including digital retail.
These tools are now advanced enough to allow customers to essentially desk the deal – financing, vehicle trade value, etc, without spending hours in the salesperson’s office. When they show up at the dealership, they should be ready or extremely close to driving the car home already.
All in all, it’s an extremely interesting time in automotive. The hope is that by changing the car buying model, Hyundai can steal some of the market away from the competition – but everyone will follow suit soon. This race to technology and full transparency and convenience is also running parallel with the advancement of autonomous vehicles, which will continue to provide another huge shift.
This year will be an interesting one to see how things start to play out. Car dealers – it’s time to embrace the change.