Dreams of a more streamlined car-buying process, with technology as facilitator, from The New York Times.
For generations, the auto dealer has been the primary avenue for carmakers to sell vehicles to consumers.
But technology is rapidly changing that equation. Consumers no longer depend on dealers to learn about cars, and automakers are trying to sell more directly to consumers — despite the varying restrictions in most states on manufacturers’ owning or operating dealerships.
And the pace of that change is only accelerating. Last month, a dozen teams, including several car dealers, honed and presented their ideas for better ways to sell cars at a three-day competition called Hackomotive and sponsored by Edmunds.com, a car-buying site that provides industry research.
“We’re seeing this massive shift in how people shop, looking for answers in real time,” said Nick Gorton, co-founder of the Seattle-based Carcode.me, which won the contest’s $20,000 grand prize at the event, held here at the Edmunds headquarters. “The rise of the smartphone is particularly disruptive.”