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Image credit: Roberto Baldwin/Engadget

Hyundai hopes it can make online car shopping simpler

The company's Shopper Assurance program helps you do more legwork in a browser.
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Roberto Baldwin/Engadget

Dead-simple online shopping has spoiled us all, and Hyundai wants car shopping to feel just as painless. With its newly announced Shopper Assurance program (which launches first in Miami, Orlando, Dallas and Houston) potential car buyers visiting dealership websites will see more straightforward prices that factor in whatever company discounts and incentives may be applicable. According to a report from the AP, those local dealerships will also be encouraged to match prices ferreted out by resources like Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book. In theory, this means you'll get just as good a deal from the dealership down the road — if not a little better — than further-flung car sellers.

More importantly, the process of actually buying that car won't take hours inside a noisy dealership. Customers will be able to schedule test drives through the dealer website or through Hyundai's Drive app (only in certain markets, sadly), and the car will be dropped off for a spin at their chosen location. And once a potential customer has chosen a car, they'll be able to calculate monthly payments, estimate trade-in values for their existing cars and run loan applications from right inside their browser.

Sure, shoppers will still have to swing by their dealership to pick up the car, but at least they're not wasting valuable hours inside of one. Oh, and the best part? There's a three-day window in which folks can return their cars... as long they haven't been damaged or driven for more than 300 miles.

Hyundai's new approach might seem a little stodgy compared to Tesla's streamlined sales model, but dragging the traditional dealership sales model into the age of ceaseless convenience is no small feat. Frankly, Shopper Assurance's launch in all dealerships early next year can't come soon enough — the carmaker has seen its sales seriously dip after eight consecutive years of growth, and it needs to engineer a fix now.

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