Internet giant Amazon could soon sell cars online in the UK after trialling the enterprise in Italy.
It is believed that selling cars online in the UK is the first step in Amazon’s plan to move into the European automotive market.
The online seller of just about everything is said to be spending big dollars building a new arm for selling cars. According to German reports, the online unit will be based in Luxembourg but will begin operating in the UK first.
The company has already trialled a similar scheme in Italy, joining forces with Fiat Chrysler to sell the Fiat 500 and the Panda online. Customers could spec and order their car via Amazon and the car would then be delivered to a nearby Dealer. The program was extended in March this year and now includes finance deals.
Amazon recently recruited Christoph Moeller – a motor industry expert at consultancy Oliver Wyman – to spearhead the new project. According to German car magazine Automobilwoche, Moeller is now in charge of working with European carmakers.
Moeller told Automobilwoche, “At Amazon, I am overseeing the OEM business in the European market.”
Online retailing is only set to grow in the future, with brands like BMW having already launched online retailers where customers can order and finance cars in just minutes.
Amazon has yet to comment on its European plans. It remains unclear whether new or used cars will be sold through its website.
Australia seems a likely future target for Amazon. AADA would point out the importance of taxing such an operation so as not to provide them with an unfair advantage in offering lower prices.
The plan will require the cooperation of manufacturers and at times, Dealers. Non-car retailers have tried to crack the market before, notably Tesco in the UK, which once sold second-hand cars. However, the business was unsustainable as no-one was willing to supply them with cars to sell.
This move by Amazon is just the latest shift in the retail automotive industry model that Dealers will have to adjust to if they want to continue to thrive. We will watch with great interest how Amazon fares in the UK.