Amazon is planning to attack the traditional vehicle retail business and open up a virtual car showroom, selling new vehicles and automotive accessories online.
According to various news reports, as yet unconfirmed by Amazon itself, the company has picked Luxembourg as the HQ for its online automotive efforts, since it plans to work the European markets first – with the UK slated as the most likely debut, the rest of the continent following later.
Used cars are already sold online via various outlets, including eBay and AutoTrader, but the volume of new cars offered over the internet remains limited. Amazon already has some experience in the matter: in November 2016, the online retailer agreed with FCA that it would sell the Fiat Panda, 500 and 500L via amazon.it, exclusively in Italy.
Under the system, buyers choose their vehicle specifications online and arrange for a pick up at a local dealership – as a poll suggested 97% of customers still wanted to collect their vehicle from a dealer rather than have it delivered at home.
Whether Amazon's larger effort at selling cars across Europe will resemble its Italian trial will depend in large part on Christoph Moeller, partner at Oliver Wyman consultants, whom Amazon hired for its sales effort. Amazon not only has pre-existing agreements with FCA, but also with Hyundai and Opel.