Hyundai UK Aims to Change Car Buying – Digital Age Dealership Debuts

By Steve & Tamami Laser

People have been purchasing new cars the same way for decades. You go to a dealership, take a test drive, pick out the car you like, negotiate the price, complete paperwork and drive it home. Hyundai Motor UK seeks to transform the experience by bringing the whole process into the digital age. In other words, the car dealer of the future may look like an Apple Store.


According to Hyundai UK’s research on the evolution of digital car buying:

  • 15 years ago the new car buying process took 16 weeks, today it’s just 10 days
  • 93% or new car buyers research online before visiting a showroom
  • 84% of new car buyers feel well-informed before visiting a dealer
  • On average, prospective customers visit dealers just 1.3 times before purchase – 15 years ago, it was five times
  • 76% of buyers would prefer to book service appointments online

Hyundai Motor UK has partnered with digital car retailer, Rockar to “Turn the traditional car retail experience on its head – buy a car online and in store without ever having to speak to a salesperson.”


The experiment called “Rockar Hyundai” is reportedly unique in the marketplace, delivering an innovative customer-focused “omni-channel” purchasing and ownership experience for those customers who want it.

Rockar Hyundai is said to make the experience of buying and owning a car seamless, easy, convenient, affordable and enjoyable whether online or in-store. Research, arrange a test drive, buy and book maintenance all online.


A digital store is set to open at Bluewater, in Stone, Kent, billed as Europe’s leading retail and leisure destination to support the online experience.

We’ve posted the press release from Hyundai UK below that outline the process. While this is an experiment for the moment, it remains to be seen how Hyundai UK’s existing dealer network will react to this scenario and whether it bodes well for the future of car selling.


With the difficulties that Tesla is experiencing selling cars via factory direct stores in the U.S., an arrangement like Rockar Hyundai is unlikely to be tried in America…or is it?

Once thing is certain: The digital age has nearly eliminated book and record stores, while printed newspapers and magazines are on the endangered species list. Could car dealers as we know them be next?


Hyundai Motor Announces Innovative New Car Retail Experience – ‘Rockar Hyundai’

High Wycombe, 30 September 2014 – Automotive retailing is evolving and customer expectations are changing. Today, customers visit a car dealership just 1.3 times before purchase. Driven by the rise in internet usage and the rise of smart phones and tablets, 93% of all new car buyers conduct research online and now only visit the dealership when they wish to sign on the dotted line.

Against the backdrop of this sweeping trend, Hyundai and Rockar today announced the launch in early November 2014 of an innovative and seamless car retail proposition – Rockar Hyundai. This will integrate in-store, online and mobile platforms to deliver a car shopping experience unlike any other, designed to suit some of today’s consumers.

Rockar Hyundai – the first business of its kind in the Automotive Industry – will provide consumers with an all-encompassing online and in-store service that will allow them to research, test-drive, get a price for their old car, choose a payment option, purchase and service their new car all at the touch of a button without ever having to speak to a sales person if they wish. It has been designed to offer a flexible and convenient way to buy and own a car which fits in with their lifestyles.

The digital store will be located at Bluewater, Europe’s leading retail, leisure and entertainment destination. Bluewater has a footfall of 27 million per annum and serves one of the largest and most affluent catchments in the UK – 6.5 million people with an available spend of £13 billion.

Tony Whitehorn, President and CEO, Hyundai Motor UK, commented: “I am delighted to be able to announce today the launch of Rockar Hyundai in early November 2014. Rockar Hyundai is a highly innovative and enticing addition to our existing Dealer Network. It offers the consumers an easy and flexible alternative to buying and owning a car without undermining the strength and infrastructure within our existing sales network. It is unprecedented in the UK Automotive Industry and is the shape of things to come.

“Hyundai UK is developing a more integrated approach towards the way we retail cars, reflecting the changing ways in which people shop and the use of technology in the retail environment.  Rockar Hyundai is an integral part of this, and to our continuous commitment to delivering an outstanding customer experience across our entire business.”

Simon Dixon, Founder of said: “I have been working with a dedicated team on this exciting customer proposition for the last two years. It has been driven, not only by our automotive retail experience, but by extensive customer research and a deep understanding of the evolving retail environment. It is clear from research that customers buying a new car can find it an intimidating process. Rockar’s vision is simple – to ensure that the Customer is truly at its heart and feels empowered throughout the process. I am delighted that Hyundai and Bluewater have had the foresight to partner with Rockar on this exciting retail journey.”

Russell Loveland, Portfolio Director at Land Securites, added: “The key drivers of Bluewater’s success are evolution, innovation and experience. This exciting new digital store from Rockar Hyundai exemplifies these themes to create something quite unique. The selection of Bluewater for such a ground-breaking idea highlights its position at the forefront of the industry.”

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News source and photos from Hyundai Motor UK

Story ©2014 CarNichiWa

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