Amazon is an Automotive Powerhouse


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Illustration by Diego PatiñoCar and Driver

From the November 2020 issue of Car and Driver.

While everyone waited with bated breath for an Apple car, Amazon extended its reach into the automotive landscape far and wide. Building and selling new vehicles is big business, but it’s only the tippity top of the industry iceberg. Hundreds of thousands of car businesses exist beyond assembly plants and dealerships. Here’s where Amazon’s presence is having the biggest impact.

Parts and Accessories

According to automotive marketing agency Hedges & Company, the online parts and accessories market is expected to exceed $16 billion in 2020, with $10.3 billion of purchases made through Amazon. To make online buying easier for consumers, Amazon has established partnerships with local installation outlets, and the Amazon Garage makes recommendations for replacement and aftermarket parts based on the vehicle information users store in their accounts. Amazon claims that tens of millions of consumers have already virtually parked their vehicles in that garage.

Autonomous Vehicles

In June, Amazon signed an agreement to acquire autonomous-vehicle startup Zoox for a reported $1.3 billion. Amazon says it’s committed to Zoox’s original mission to create a network of self-driving taxis, but it’s easy to imagine the technology also being deployed to deliver packages while cutting out human drivers. Even if Zoox’s dream goes unrealized, Amazon technology could materialize in self-driving cars built by competitors. Right now, for example, Toyota Research Institute is using Amazon systems to process data during its autonomous-vehicle development.

Vehicle Sales

Amazon Vehicles is the company’s initial foray into providing consumers with vehicle-purchasing information. Right now that consists primarily of new and used-car reviews that you might want to look at after you’ve exhausted the resources on CarandDriver.com. The obvious next step would be for…



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