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Hyundai points the way to a 'blended approach' to car retail in the UK

Tony Whitehorn Hyundai chief executive

Hyundai’s dealerships have been assured they still have a major role to play in the future of the brand after it unveiled plans for further digitalisation of both the new car selling process and aftersales.

At it’s the Future of Hyundai Retail conference last month (February), the manufacturer announced that from April it will relaunch its Click to Buy service, this time offering every model and equipment grade in the range.

It is also launching an improved digital aftersales service, which will allow customers to book service and maintenance appointments online, as well as immediately approve any additional work.

The initiatives come as Rockar is to hand ownership of its digital stores back to the Hyundai Motor Company to be operated by the Motorline dealer group.

Tony Whitehorn, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor UK, said: “Amazon, through digitalisation and with efficiency of delivery, has changed everybody’s customer expectations.

“Historically, we used to compare ourselves with other motor retailers. Today, I expect to be able to get my car online because that’s what Amazon does, and that is how we have got to change.

“We have got to move as an industry to replicate what is happening in other parts of the retail environment.

“However, we are not abandoning the traditional dealer network whatsoever. Our belief is that this is going to be a blended approach.

“You are going to have a clicks digital experience, a store experience, and you will have the normal retail experience in the dealership.

“When you buy a car you are building a long-term relationship and that is why the traditional dealer won’t go away. It won’t all be done digitally, it won’t all be done online, it will be done in conjunction with the dealer.”

Hyundai launched the first version of Click to Buy in February last year. Offering a limited product range (22 models at its peak) with fixed pricing, since that date the website had 500,000 visitors, provided 50,000 part-exchange valuations, had 1,500 accounts opened, 500 finance applications and sold 80 vehicles.

Whitehorn added: “You might say ‘oh, only 80 vehicles out of all that’, but what is absolutely happening is that people are going online, getting a feel for the vehicle and then some of them are going into the dealership.”

He said the new click to buy system will feature all models and all dealers. Individual dealers will be able to price their cars how they want, while customers are asked where they live. The system will tell them who their local dealer and what they have priced that car at.

If the user wants to go to another dealer, they can go back out of the system and go back in to see the price available from another dealer.

Whitehorn stressed: “It is not a comparison website. We are trying to give the customer the same journey they get normally, but virtually.”

He said Hyundai is also improving its digital aftersales service. Currently almost 30% of all bookings are currently made online, with 35% of those being done out-of-hours.

The improved system will help dealers continue the “seamless digital experience” when a customer arrives on their premises, said Whitehorn.

ANPR cameras will pick up the customer’s registration plate, which will alert the service advisor that they have arrived. The advisor will then be able to greet the customer and, using an iPad will be able to give a personalised check-in with no queuing involved.

The digital system will also allow the dealership to give the customer live visual updates of the work, and the opportunity to immediately approve additional work if required, or make another appointment.

Author: Andrew Ryan

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  • geraldine - 15/03/2018 09:01

    3.5 million for 80 sales not very good .I think mr whitehorn needs to look after his dealer network a bit better like kia then the score would not be so dreadful!! Concentrate on the basics Mr Whitehorn then the dealers may value the franchise higher !!