Amazon next year will allow auto dealers to sell cars through its site, starting with South Korean automaker Hyundai, the company said Thursday.
The company has slowly muscled its way into the car-buying business over the years, launching digital showrooms on its site for shoppers to research and compare vehicles, but not buy them directly through Amazon. Consumers can also buy car products, such as replacement parts, through its site.
Beginning in 2024, Amazon will let shoppers purchase a new car online, then pick it up or have it delivered by their local dealership. Consumers will be able to search for available vehicles in their area, make a selection, then check out on Amazon. The company said the new feature will “create another way for dealers to build awareness of their selection and offer convenience to their customers.”
It’s unclear if Amazon or the dealer will actually be selling the vehicle. Traditional automakers such as Hyundai have complex relationships with dealers that are backed, in many states, by laws that make it difficult or illegal to bypass franchised dealers and sell new vehicles directly to consumers.
Tesla and other electric vehicle start-ups such as Rivian have developed workarounds in many states to sell vehicles directly online to consumers. They include originating the sale in states that don’t outlaw the practice, or taking legal action to fight such laws, as they have done in Michigan.
There are less stringent laws regarding used vehicle sales, which makes it easier for companies such as Carvana and others to sell pre-owned cars and trucks online directly to consumers.