Amazon Is Taking Steps Towards Disrupting Traditional Car Dealers
Laws like the California car lemon law are aimed at helping purchasers of new cars when vehicles turn out to be defective. Unfortunately, even with some consumer protection laws and regulations in place, the car buying process can still be really unpleasant. Many people do not trust car manufacturers and car dealers, often with good reason, and the process of going to a dealership to shop can be a stressful endeavor.
Now, Fox Business reports that there could be important and beneficial changes on the horizon. The changes could be driven by Amazon, which has already reshaped the retail industry by altering the way so many people buy millions of different kinds of items. If Amazon is able to shake up the car-buying industry, this could usher in an era of fundamental change for motorists.
Could Amazon Change the Way Cars Are Purchased?
Fox Business indicates that Amazon is soon planning on selling cars online at discounted prices. Initially, Amazon will be offering online car sales only to consumers who are located in Italy. Further, the first product offerings in the car-sales market will be limited to just three Fiats.
Fiat Chrysler has told Fox Business that it teamed up with Amazon to allow consumers to log onto the online website and complete the hassle-free purchase of a discounted Fiat Panda, Fiat 500, or Fiat 500L. The discount could be significant, with the sales chief for FCA in Italy telling reporters that existing promotions could be improved by around 33 percent for consumers who buy online.
In this initial foray into online car sales, traditional dealers will still play a role. When buyers purchase the Fiat on Amazon, a dealer will contact the purchasers to finalize the transaction and pick up the vehicle. Pickup will occur within two weeks of the time the initial transaction is completed on Amazon.
This could be the first step in Amazon taking the car buying process online and streamlining to eliminate many of the things shoppers dislike about purchasing a vehicle. There will be no haggling, no uncertainty on price, and no inconvenience of having to go to multiple dealers just to find the best deal on the desired vehicle.
There are still challenges for Amazon if it wants to expand this program, including existing state restrictions on Amazon's ability to sell directly to consumers. However, state regulations could change, and Amazon could find workarounds by partnering with dealers who commit to offering haggle-free and transparent pricing.
If Amazon is successful and expands the online sale to more countries, more models, and more vehicles, the car buying process could become as easy as just logging on and clicking Buy It Now.
While it seems likely that the car buying process is going to change as consumer preferences have shifted dramatically, the old system is still hanging on for now and consumers continue to be at the mercy of dealers and car manufacturers. If you purchase a vehicle and you start to have issues with it, you should talk with an attorney about whether California’s lemon laws could potentially protect you.