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Hyundai's Bluewater showroom to let customers buy 'without talking to a salesperson'


Hyundai is to open a shopping centre store where consumers can buy a car "without speaking to a sales person".

The announcement of the November store opening comes a week after dealer group Colin Appleyard said it was opening an unmanned store in Yorkshire.

Hyundai has partnered with a business called Rockar, founded by Simon Dixon (former chief executive of Dixon Motors and co-founder of to launch Rockar Hyundai (concept image left). 

It is designed to "provide consumers with an all-encompassing online and in-store service that will allow them to research, test-drive, get a price for their old car, choose a payment option, purchase and service their new car all at the touch of a button without ever having to speak to a sales person if they wish," a statement reads. 

Should a customer wish to speak to someone, staff - called Rockar Angels, will be on hand. Servicing will also be available every day of the week.

"It has been designed to offer a flexible and convenient way to buy and own a car which fits in with their lifestyles."

The digital store will be at Bluewater, which has a footfall of 27 million each year and serves one of the largest and most affluent catchments in the UK – 6.5 million people with an available spend of £13 billion.

Tony Whitehorn, president and chief executive of Hyundai Motor UK, said: “Rockar Hyundai is a highly innovative and enticing addition to our existing dealer network. 

"It offers the consumers an easy and flexible alternative to buying and owning a car without undermining the strength and infrastructure within our existing sales network.  It is unprecedented in the UK automotive industry and is the shape of things to come.

“Hyundai UK is developing a more integrated approach towards the way we retail cars, reflecting the changing ways in which people shop and the use of technology in the retail environment.   Rockar Hyundai is an integral part of this, and to our continuous commitment to delivering an outstanding customer experience across our entire business.”

Simon Dixon, founder of, said: “I have been working with a dedicated team on this exciting customer proposition for the last two years. 

"It has been driven, not only by our automotive retail experience, but by extensive customer research and a deep understanding of the evolving retail environment. 

"It is clear from research that customers buying a new car can find it an intimidating process. 

"Rockar’s vision is simple – to ensure that the customer is truly at its heart and feels empowered throughout the process.”

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  • Automan. - 30/09/2014 14:09

    Good luck with that ! "unexpected Item in the Bagging Area" ....

  • Treaks - 30/09/2014 14:19

    I bet they'll be running to their nearest manned dealership if there's a problem!! Mental really when one minute you're being told that you should be all over social media interacting with customers and now the latest thing is leaving them to it, bonkers!

  • gezza06 - 30/09/2014 14:47

    How will they service their car without speaking to someone? How will the car be delivered and what if the p/x isn't as initially described? People will always have questions about a new car, and the Rockar Angels will effectively be the salespeople so no change really!!

  • Someone looking at this with customer's eyes - 30/09/2014 17:50

    Inevitably, handling a car purchase and servicing requires a Dealership style infrastructure. I think the point here, and if it is then it is perfectly in tune with the customer, is that people hate visiting Dealerships. They hate visiting Dealerships because they dislike your sales process, they dislike being laughed at in the sales manager office (yes they can see you doing it), they dislike being spoken to by someone who knows less about the car (and most other things) than they do. There is a clear demand for a new customer interaction experience and this could be heading the right way.

    • gezza06 - 01/10/2014 09:07

      @Someone looking at this with customer's eyes - Not sure how this will change the experience in reality. These places will probably have sales targets (to measure success and cover costs), so there will need to be a process to close people. Someone there will have to be in charge (Sales Manager) to make decisions on part exchanges and discounts, and the Rockar Angels are the equivalent of sales people who may know even less than dealership sales people. The fact that anyone is there makes it the same as a dealership, and this will be a showroom containing cars with staff around to help sell them.

    • max - 10/10/2014 11:20

      @Someone looking at this with customer's eyes - well said. Dealers are increasing being forced to look at this through the customers eyes, it's just that the motor trade still thinks it knows best. Smoke and mirrors finance deals, lack of honest transparency. Customers and regulators will have the last say, and dealers will still be wondering why they are suffering...... so hard done by, it's always the fault of the manufacturer / the regulators / the economy, blah blah blah. True TCF = sustainable profitable business!

  • Artie O'Malley - 30/09/2014 20:11

    I seem to recall Dixon Motor Holdings going into administration not too many years ago. I also believe that wasn't particularly successful and ceased trading. Why should this venture be any different?

  • Peter - 04/10/2014 10:02

    Shareholders in automotive retailing and current dealers being asked to invest in bespoke multi million pound premises have serious thinking to do in light of this new concept.

  • H.Wheeler - 04/10/2014 13:53

    How depressing to see a large group relinquish the skills and pride involved to select, hire, and train staff that doesn't make the customer run away and hate the visit. Perhaps those skills never existed in the first place with them? Didn't a supermarket chain try this awhile back only to realize it was a consummate flop? I wish no one bad luck, but this makes my IMI Fellowship a bit of a fool's errand, what with all those years as a salesman, manager, DP twice on behalf of franchise masters, and ultimately someone who trained for years just the skills they don't have. Therefore, the motto there is: 'When in doubt, give up."

  • Peter - 04/10/2014 14:32

    This fully endorses the long accepted view that manufacturers are determined to go it alone with retailing and move further up the retail chain in order to enhance revenues . Manufacturers will very soon set up their own service centres catering for all their brands plus prep centres for fleet sales.

  • Henry Wheeler FIMI - 05/10/2014 02:32

    Peter, et al: I admit it has been a long time since I considered your point of retail absorption of dealers by the manufacturers, but your point is eerily made. The manufacturer mentality has long been the 'NIH' objection. That is, Not Invented Here, and since they have never seen the dealer as anything but a place to stuff their produce and not as business partners, this is just another effort to have the entire pie, both a sad and likely result. Likely, until they actually have to deal with the public as a customer, something they've been insulated from, except to ladle money on them for resultant accidents and deaths due to inferior design and products...admittedly, some more than others. They will never accomplish their ends until the revocation of every franchise agreement is accomplished and no dealers want to see their life's work evaporate in legal fees, so they will ultimately succumb to the deepest pockets. Gird your loins, Mr. and Mrs. Public, you are about to have the only source for your next car be R2D2. Gee, won't that be fun? Not.

    • Peter - 05/10/2014 08:41

      This transition has in reality been discreetly happening for several years with manufacturers taking substantial stakes in dealt groups and more recently the transfer of a few well known senior executives to long established retailers both here and abroad. At what pace will this escalate is the question and some cynics are even suggesting that as soon as the dealers have completed their latest gin palace refurbishments,at their own expense,they(the manufacturer) will start to cherry pick the locations they need and then as Rossevelt said "let battle commence".