Amazon Expanding Echo Auto Sales Internationally – Starting with India This Month
Amazon announced at CES this week that it will start selling Echo Auto devices in India on January 15 and plans to add other countries to the list later this year. The expansion is part of Amazon’s bigger strategy for adding its Alexa voice assistant to more places and aspects of people’s lives.
The Amazon Echo Auto is a small box designed to sit above the dashboard of a car. It connects to the Alexa app on the driver’s smartphone and brings the voice assistant and all of its capabilities to the vehicle. It also opens up specialized features for in-vehicle travel using location services and related elements. Echo Auto only became available in the U.S. in October after a year-long pilot for invited customers. More than one million people pre-ordered an Echo Auto before they became available. India makes sense as the first place for Amazon to start selling the Echo Auto in outside of the U.S. There’s a growing number of cars with voice assistants inside there, and Alexa added Hindi to its list of languages just a few months ago.
Amazon wants to put Alexa in more vehicles, but the number of cars with Alexa integrated from the beginning is small. The addition of Lamborghini and Rivian cars to the list was another big part of Amazon’s announcements at CES. The limited number of cars with built-in Alexa access is part of why Echo Auto coming to countries like India could give a big boost to Alexa’s presence in cars overall. Amazon wants Alexa to be more than just another option for a voice in the car, though. That’s why it revealed the plan to get the voice assistant to handle paying for gas at Exxon and Mobil gas stations this week. While that feature is limited to the U.S. for now, an international expansion of that feature, like the one the Echo Auto is having now, is likely going to happen at some point.