A car is just about the only thing you can't buy on Amazon, but the online retail giant hopes to make the process a little easier with a new service.
Amazon Vehicles gives users access to detailed information on new and used cars, along with existing Amazon features like customer reviews and a cross-referencing tool for parts and accessories. Car shoppers can use the information they find on the site to have a better idea of what they're looking for when they actually head to a dealership.
Users can search by year, make, and model, by body style, or by certain specifications like mpg and towing capacity. It's also possible to search for vehicles based on specific features, such as navigation or heated seats. Each model's page has specifications and images, including the ability to see the car in different colors. Brief summaries list vehicle features and any changes made for the current model year.
Pages also show recent recalls and both government and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) crash-test scores, although they don't break down scores in individual tests for the latter.
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Like all other products listed on Amazon, cars also get customer reviews and ratings. In addition to browsing the reviews, users can also submit specific questions such as "How does this car perform in the snow?" for the owner community to answer.
Amazon Vehicles also links to the existing Amazon Automotive store for parts and accessories. As before, owners can add cars to a virtual Amazon Garage to find products intended specifically for that vehicle. Of course, that assumes parts designed for said vehicle are actually available. You may have a harder time finding stuff for your Daimler SP250 than, say, a new Ford F-150.
For now, Amazon Vehicles stops short of actually letting people buy cars online, but that could be the next frontier of car sales. Tesla currently sells cars though its website, and other companies have experimented with different alternatives to the traditional dealership model. Still, it's awfully hard to test drive a car from behind a computer screen.