Digital car retailer ‘Rockar Hyundai’ will celebrate the 100,000th visitor to its store in Kent’s Bluewater Shopping Centre since opening its doors six months ago. And the unique retail concept, Hyundai said, is on track to account for 1,000 unit sales by the end of year.
The www.rockar.com website has received 78,000 web visitors since it was launched in November 2014. There have been 500 test drives.
Simon Dixon, chief executive and founder of Rockar, said: “Rockar is challenging every preconception about how buying and selling a car should be.
“The average age of a new car buyer is 56 years, but the average age of a Rockar customer is just 37.
“What’s also interesting is that on average 60% of buyers, and 54% of visitors to the Bluewater store, are female – Rockar’s key demographic. The brand conversion rate is impressive too, as 95% of our customers have never owned a Hyundai before.
“When looking at the success of Rockar so far, it is clear that challenging the historical approach to car buying is the way forward.”
Customers can choose to complete the entire purchase process online or in store. The buying process, Rockar says, can be completed in less than five minutes. There is “no dealing or haggling”.
Rockar Hyundai’s in-store team are known as ‘angels’. They are not salespeople on commission, but product experts “there to advise and lend a helping hand”.
There is a section of Bluewater’s car park reserved for Rockar’s YouDrive service and customers can drive the car alone if they wish. Approximately one third of test drives convert to purchase.
Tony Whitehorn, president and chief executive of Hyundai Motor UK, said: “This innovative retail proposition is challenging the existing automotive retail modelbecause it is taking the product to where the customer is. It’s raising brand awareness and importantly interrupting people who are not shopping at Bluewater with the intention of buying a new car.”
A Hyundai spokeswoman said on the current run rate the Rockar store would achieve about 1,000 sales in 2015. This would mean the experiment was classed as a success that would lead it to investigate similar stores, with Dixon or other partners: “If any other dealer wanted to put forward a plan of this kind we would support it.”
In 2014, with 160 dealers and 81,986 new vehicle registrations the average sales per outlet was 512 - or 43 a month per outlet.
The Bluewater store is open on week days until 9pm. Rockar is also open at weekends.