Hyundai has opened what it calls the UK's first digital car showroom at Bluewater in Kent today. 

Apparently, 40% of Britons are more likely to buy a car if they can avoid speaking to a sales person in the process, so this initiative aims to take them out of the equation. 

What is significant here is that customers can test drive a car, arrange finance and trade ins and buy all from the showroom. 

The showroom was created by Rockar using Summit's retail platform and contains no sales staff, just product experts (on cars and the tech) who receive no commission. 

Car sales people will no doubt be disappointed to learn that they're deterring 40% of potential customers, but the traditional dealership model has a long way to go yet. 

As Tony Whitehorn, President and CEO, Hyundai Motor UK says: 

Traditional car dealerships will always have a vital role to play in the car buying and ownership experience. However, this online and in-store option gives customers another choice to fit around their busy lives.

The showrooms feature interactive screens where consumers can see lists of potential cars before choosing specs such as colour, transmission and fuel type. 

These choices can then be adjusted to allow them to see how different selections affect price and cost. 

While digital showrooms have been used before, Audi City being one example, the fact that people can set up finance and make a purchase there and then makes this an interesting move. 

Indeed, locating such digital showrooms in shopping centres rather than the more traditional dealership locations, normally on the outskirts of towns, may have the benefit of increasing casual researchers. 

It seems that automotive brands are now beginning to go digital in a big way, and it'll be interesting to see if people are prepared to buy cars like this. 

Graham Charlton

Published 6 November, 2014 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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Comments (2)

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Lauren Barham

Hi Graham, thanks for the post! This is really interesting and a great digital breakthrough for the automotive industry. I work for a Marketing and PR recruitment agency so we can see how fast paced the digital age is moving and when big brands can use it in a way that can help drive sales like this it shows what a difference the digital leap can make. We have recently launched a new app which we hope will make marketing job-seekers lives easier by utilising the digital mobile age and allowing them to apply for jobs easily on the go! Kind regards, Lauren

over 3 years ago

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Deri Jones, CEO at SciVisum Ltd

I hope the showroom works better than the Rockar site.

I couldn't get the comparator tool in 'Find a car' to work: no matter the count of cars it showed in the 'Compare cars' line: it would only ever show one in the Compare page - so no comparison was possible!
And then the Count would change without logic too, as I looked at a car or two.

I got the same in both Firefox and chrome, so unlikely to be an issue on my end.

Also weird: I had filtered down to Estates: with about 6 or 8 showing: most of them are identical apart from price and mpg in the matrix page: and even when drilling into them, you have to go into yet another tab to discover the mpg difference is down to different BHP.

It was not easy to make a comparison at all!

over 3 years ago

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