The innovative partnership between digital retailer Rockar and Hyundai has proved so successful that a second store is set to open.
The new site, at Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, east London, will begin trading on 4 December. As with the original store at Kent’s Bluewater mall, the new 250 square metre store will be staffed by salaried ‘product angels’ and a vehicle purchase can be completed on in-store tablets, writes Richard Yarrow.
Tony Whitehorn, Hyundai UK chief executive, said it was a business model which had proved popular and successful.
“Importantly, it’s capturing a new type of customer,” he told AM. “The industry average age of a new car buyer is around 52, but at Rockar is 39. More than half of them are female, over 90 per cent have never bought a Hyundai before, and over 80 per cent have never bought a new car before.”
Ironically, it’s the i10 city runabout – traditionally bought by older customers – which has made up more than 50 per cent of Rockar sales. “Considering this is a brand new concept with no repeat purchasers, it’s great and we’re now replicating it in Stratford.”
Whitehorn said some elements of the Rockar experience had been transferred into the rest of the Hyundai network. For example, with more than 50 per cent of buyers completing their Rockar purchase online and out of hours, it’s led to the creation of a complete online service booking facility for all dealerships.
“We’re becoming more of a 24/7 industry. It’s not about being open, it’s about being accessible out of hours. People don’t always want live chat, but they do want to have the facility to send an email or make a purchase in their own time, not the dealer’s. That’s where things are going.”
The Rockar success has also sparked a drive to encourage more dealers to take cars to shopping centres, moving the product to where the customer is and not the other way round.
The obvious question is whether there will be more stores. Whitehorn is non-committal but said he would monitor the situation carefully.
“We’ve learned that people don’t go there to buy a car, they go to go shopping. We’ve learned that the average spend on a trip to a shopping mall is £250, so you need to have your deposit under £250 and your monthly payments the same. That way, you might get a customer.”