The Hyundai Motor Co. badge is displayed on the front grille of a vehicle at the Hyundai Motorstudio showroom in Goyang, South Korea. (Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg)

Hyundai Enlists Amazon to Bring Car-Buying Into the Digital Age

(Bloomberg) -- Hyundai Motor Co. said it’s modernizing its retail operations with a “digital showroom” on Amazon.com that lets shoppers arrange test drives, check inventory, compare pricing and read owners’ reviews.

From Amazon’s Hyundai page, shoppers can click through to websites showing inventories at specific dealerships, plus see pricing details including all available discounts and a three-day money-back guarantee.

“This collaboration with Amazon provides customers with the ability to learn about Hyundai vehicles in a way that matches their expectations for nearly every other type of purchase,” Tim Maxwell, Hyundai’s senior group manager for digital marketing, said in a statement.

Hyundai began collaborating with Amazon.com Inc. in 2016 with “Prime Now, Drive Now,” an online program that allowed car shoppers to book test drives. Using its Blue Link connectivity system, the Seoul-based company also was the first mainstream automaker to connect its cars with homes using Amazon Echo and Alexa.

In expanding its ties with Hyundai, Amazon is positioning itself as more of a competitor to independent research sites such as Cars.com and Autotrader. The Korean automaker, meanwhile, is fighting a persistent slump in the U.S., where first-half sales fell 3.3 percent because of an aging and sedan-heavy lineup in a market clamoring for sport utility vehicles.

Hyundai started making the redesigned Santa Fe sport utility last month at its factory in Alabama, and the model is expected to start reaching dealerships soon.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.