Later, Tony Whitehorn, CEO of Hyundai UK, explained to me that it might be possible to get a better price in the showroom than on Click To Buy, but that such an outcome wasn’t ideal: “A customer mustn’t feel that they get one price on the internet and another at the dealer.”
As for the variation in the partexchange valuation made by the online system and the dealer who subsequently inspects the car, Whitehorn explained that if those figures are too far adrift, the dealer delivering the new car or processing the deal in the showroom might ask the customer to pay an additional sum to close the gap.
“An auction house calculates the valuation and we underwrite it,” said Whitehorn. “That means we’re liable for the difference between the partexchange valuation and the price the car subsequently achieves at auction when it’s sold, so it has to be right.”
Whitehorn said Click To Buy would not replace traditional dealerships: “Although it suits people who like the convenience of buying from home and who don’t want to haggle, it relies on our dealers to make it work. [A dealer has to] receive the part-exchange and confirm its value, guide the customer through their finance and then, when they’ve bought their car, look after it.”
So dealers live to fight another day, but thanks to Click To Buy’s price transparency and free valuation, car buyers have another tool with which to achieve a better new car deal online or in the showroom.
Hyundai isn't the only online player...
BMW RETAIL ONLINE
You can choose, configure and finance your new BMW online, but this system relies on dealer involvement to process and conclude the transaction. Prices published online are not discounted and to get a trade-in valuation you must speak to your nominated dealer.
ORDER ONLINE BY PEUGEOT
Allows you to choose, configure and finance your new Peugeot. It offers trade-in valuations for your old car, but you can’t pay cash. The vehicle price includes the same customer saving as Peugeot’s other advertised deals, but you can negotiate a further discount with the supplying dealer.
SMART ONLINE STORE
Relies on a high degree of dealer involvement. You can choose and configure your new Smart but you’re restricted to three PCP deals – low monthly payment, standard and low deposit – and there’s no trade-in valuation service. Home delivery of your car is free, though.
Other independent multi-brand online sellers...
Online car buying has boomed in recent years, with traditional broker sites now being joined by new companies that offer buyers a wide range of cars available to purchase direct from dealers without the need to physically visit the showroom prior to collecting the car. The benefit is that this allows buyers to select their car and negotiate a discount without having to face a salesman, while still being able to choose which dealership they buy and collect the car from. Among the entrants to the market is our sister brand What Car?, which has launched a new car buyers' marketplace where dealers are encouraged to list their cars at or below What Car?'s Target Price, which is the most it says people should pay for a car based on research by its mystery shoppers. To find out more, visit the deals section on the What Car? website.