"Hyundai has been transforming how people buy cars"

The brand's Rockar shopping centre store is a great new way to buy a car, and other car makers should follow suit, says Steve Fowler

For the past year, Hyundai’s Rockar store in the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent – and its accompanying website – has been transforming the way people buy cars. I’m a fan – as I’ve said before, it’s about selling cars where people are, not where they’re not!

Has it worked? Seems so – we can exclusively reveal that Hyundai is opening a second Rockar store next month, this time in the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, East London.

I know that plenty of other manufacturers have been watching closely to see how buyers react to the store and its no-pressure approach from ‘angels’ rather than sales people. Or whether they still prefer to go to the more traditional dealer.

• Genesis G90 heads up Hyundai's premium sub-brand

So here are some of the stats that might help persuade them it’s a good idea: while Hyundai won’t reveal numbers, Rockar is in the Top 10 of its dealers for cars sold. 163,000 people have been into the store in the past year. The average age of buyers is 39 – Hyundai’s average at other dealers is 56 (and the industry average is 52). Women account for 54 per cent of Rockar customers – roughly double what it is elsewhere. And half of Rockar’s customers transact online after visiting the store in person. 

Hyundai UK’s President and CEO Tony Whitehorn assured me his other dealers are happy about it, too. “They’ve had people buy from them who’ve been into Rockar,” he told me.

And it’s not quite the end of the traditional dealer, either. “The Internet is becoming a vehicle for transacting as well as information, but for us it’s about clicks and bricks – many people still want to go into dealers,” said Whitehorn.

Of course, he has a large dealer network to keep happy, but Hyundai has taken the brave pill and it seems to be working for it. I’ve been there and it’s a great new way to buy a car. Other makers should (and will) follow suit.

Do you think other car makers should do the same? Let us know below...

Recommended

Hyundai launches new one-card EV charging service
Hyundai card charging
News

Hyundai launches new one-card EV charging service

New Charge myHyundai service gives electric Hyundai drivers access to around 15,000 UK charging stations with one account
24 Feb 2021
New all-electric Hyundai Ioniq 5 arrives to take on Tesla
Ioniq 5 - front
Hyundai

New all-electric Hyundai Ioniq 5 arrives to take on Tesla

The new Ioniq 5 – the first model from Hyundai’s all-electric sub-brand – takes design influence from the 45 Concept and will be offered with two batt…
23 Feb 2021
Hyundai Tiger is a 4x4, four-legged off-roader for the moon
Hyundai Tiger
News

Hyundai Tiger is a 4x4, four-legged off-roader for the moon

The Hyundai Tiger is an unmanned electric buggy with walking legs and is capable of heading to the moon
10 Feb 2021
Hyundai Motor Group details dedicated electric car platform
Hyundai

Hyundai Motor Group details dedicated electric car platform

Hyundai has released a detailed specification for its new E-GMP architecture, which will underpin 23 new electric cars by 2025
2 Dec 2020

Most Popular

'Genesis’s aim is to lure Jaguar Land Rover customers'
Genesis
Opinion

'Genesis’s aim is to lure Jaguar Land Rover customers'

Mike Rutherford thinks luxury brand Genesis could take sales away from Jaguar Land Rover when it lands in the UK
1 Mar 2021
Nissan Re-Leaf: the electric car with an emergency power bank
Nissan Re-Leaf - header
Nissan Leaf

Nissan Re-Leaf: the electric car with an emergency power bank

The Nissan Re-Leaf concept shows how a family EV could power disaster-relief operations
1 Mar 2021
New 2021 Volvo C40 joins brand’s electric car line-up
Volvo C40 - front
Volvo C40

New 2021 Volvo C40 joins brand’s electric car line-up

The new Volvo C40 Recharge will take on electric car rivals such as the Tesla Model 3 and forthcoming Audi Q4 e-tron
2 Mar 2021