Hyundai UK partnered with Simon Dixon on the venture, Dixon being a 20-year veteran of the car industry who was frustrated by the experience of having to buy a car at a traditional dealership. Rockar, tucked between a Disney store and a Body Shop, keeps three vehicles in the store; if you prefer, you can handle the entire car-buying transaction online at home, or at computer stations in the store with the help of "Angels," otherwise known as salespeople. Focusing on the retail experience, however, the Angels don't have car backgrounds; they've been trained in the product, but we're told they aren't there to push it on you.
Car hunters who want to trade in can input their car to get fair trade value; Rockar says all of its trade-ins go straight to auction, so values are based on dealer auction guides, and every customer gets a no-haggle purchase price. There's a test-drive facility in the mall's enormous parking lot, and prospective customers can go for a spin without a salesperson. It will also attend to routine service needs: owners can book appointments, bring their car to the mall, amuse themselves for a few hours and pick it up the car it's completed. Rockar says it will do routine maintenance on any car, not just Hyundais.
Echoing Audi and BMW, Hyundai UK says this isn't about replacing the dealership, but trying to find a better, easier, and less stressful way for potential customers to interact with the brand and buy a car. Bluewater gets 27 million visitors per year, and in just over a month of being open more than 4,000 of them have stopped into Rockar, with three buying a car. Rockar says it will provide free service for three years for the first 100 buyers, and Hyundai expects it to be one of its UK's top ten dealers by the end of 2015. The video has more on the concept.