Amazon, a leader in the ecommerce industry it helped pioneer, is again redefining the boundaries of online shopping by selling cars.
According to Reuters, customers in Italy will soon be able to purchase automobiles -- yes, actual automobiles that cost thousands of dollars -- on the site, as the retail giant is partnering with Fiat Chrysler to sell the 500, the 500L, and the Panda models to people who enjoy small, compact vehicles.
Traditional car dealerships do have a role in the scheme, though. Once a customer picks a car online, they’ll be contacted by an Amazon representative, and then have the choice of picking a dealer to finalize their purchases.
Gianluca Italia, a Fiat Chrysler executive based in Italy, issued a statement during an online press briefing, talking about how sitting on one’s ass while buying a car represents a bold step forward for consumer freedom, or something.
"The time has arrived to give consumers a new, more efficient and transparent way to choose a new vehicle," he told Reuters.
What is undeniably convenient about the scheme, at least from a consumer perspective, are the discounted prices of the cars in question, which will be sold at rates up to 30% cheaper than at traditional dealerships.
An extension of its Amazon Vehicles site, announced in August, the Chrysler Fiat partnership should certainly raise a few eyebrows across the pond. Amazon hasn’t addressed whether the program could extend to the United States, but according to the company’s head of investor relations, Darin Manney, we shouldn’t be quick to rule anything out.
According to Business Insider, Marin said on Amazon’s most recent earnings call the company wants to make it “easier to shop for parts and accessories for your particular vehicle. And so we think there's a lot of opportunity there to add convenience for customers."