Hyundai boasts a Singapore-first ‘online showroom’ experience with its new Click & Drive website-based automobile retail channel
You can buy any consumer good online now, receive regular deliveries of groceries to your door, and now, even put a downpayment on a car without ever having a face-to-face with a real human.
Hyundai and its authorised distributor, Komoco Motors, announced the launch of a new online automobile purchasing platform, dubbed Click & Drive, in Singapore today.
The Click & Drive experience goes live tomorrow, Friday November 9, at Hyundai’s official website http://www.hyundai.com/sg.
Dubbed as an ‘industry-first, omni-channel online car retail platform in Singapore’, Hyundai touts it as a Singaporean-first, and it debuts here in the Lion City first, before being rolled out to Australia at a later date, and four other countries by the end of 2019.
Online automobile retail is not a new concept, and Hyundai already has a similar online buying concept in the UK with its Click & Buy website. EV company Tesla also has its own buying ‘portal’, although it’s doing direct website sales in the USA without dealers.
“Singapore was the first and top choice for (the launch of Click & Drive) as one of the best performing smart cities in the world,” says Mr Jong Hwan Suh (pictured above), the general manager and head of Hyundai Motor Company’s Channel strategy team, “with an anytime-anywhere concept, it transforms the way consumers can learn about, and interact with, the Hyundai brand.”
How does it work?
The Click & Buy process is similar to current interactive online showroom and configurators available from various brands, but does seem to offer a deeper online experience.
Is it more than just a fancy online configurator?
Besides the usual configurator options (choosing colour, variants) you can also see a 360-degree view of the car’s interior and exterior.
Deeper steps include talking to a salesperson on live chat, and being able to pay the actual deposit for the car, which can currently only be done via credit card. Hyundai says it is looking to expand the options for payment in future.
What happens after I press ‘buy’?
You get a PDF order form generated with all the details on it, just like in real life.
Once the payment is done, the final signing and approval can be done at the showroom, or Hyundai’s sales consultants can visit you to finish the process. After that notifications will be given on each step of the way (COE bidding, registration etc).
There’s also Aftersales support, as you can also purchase service and care packages for your car, or find out more about the warranty.
Are there actual benefits to an online approach?
Obviously those who are used to the old-school method of buying a car might not be enthused with this, but it may appeal to younger buyers who are used to transacting purchases online.
Plus points of the online buying process include being able to ‘window shop’ the full range of cars and detailed information about them without physically riffling through brochures, and being able to work out finance options and monthly downpayments on the spot.
Pre-filling all the forms online also means doing less paperwork and spending less time in the showroom itself.
The website is available 24-hours a day, except for Certificate of Entitlement (COE) bidding days from 12pm to 12pm the day after, and live chat is only available during office hours (9am to 7pm).
Can you haggle with the sales people on live chat just like in real life?
Erh, not really.
Komoco representatives say that the online channel isn’t meant to replace the real-life car buying process, but rather to complement it as a way to reach a wider audience 24/7, and hence it ‘is not for haggling or the ‘classic’ car buying experience’.
We figure those who prefer to buy online probably aren’t the haggling type anyway.
Sales promotions will be available to both online and walk-in customers, although Hyundai also says it will offer online-only bonuses to website visitors – the example given during the demonstration we saw was a $1,000 shopping voucher.
What about test drives?
Hyundai says it’s possible for potential customers to schedule an appointment, and to have the sales consultants go to their location to educate the buyer and test drive the actual car.
So…should I really buy a car online?
Well it’s not unheard of for people to pay for a car’s downpayment with a credit card, and if you’re the sort who dislike spending time in showrooms it seems like a painless method with its own benefits.
But keep in mind buying a car isn’t a small purchase, as even the most inexpensive Hyundai, the Accent, starts from $69k with COE. So the rules of car buying still apply: Do your research – hopefully by reading CarBuyer.com.sg – test drive the car, and shop around.