You can buy pretty much anything on Amazon now, and it seems that might stretch to cars in the not-too-distant future.

As you might have read, Volvo has just unveiled a trial scheme to allow users of the Amazon Prime Now service to book a test drive in a V40. Instead of having to go to a dealer, you simply fire up your laptop or mobile and book a 45-minute slot, and then a nice person from Volvo will drive a V40 to your door. Simple.

When you look closely, it’s not quite as groundbreaking as it seems: it’s running in four cities over four weekends, with a very limited number of slots available.

And even if you decide the V40 is the car for you, you’ll still have to go to your dealership to actually buy one.

Plus, you can already go on Volvo’s website and request a test drive from a dealer. Aside from having the car delivered to your door so you can go for a quick blast, then, not much is really new – meaning it would be easy to dismiss this Amazon Prime service as a bit of a gimmick.

But that would be unwise, because it's a sign of what’s to come in the really-not-that-distant future.

Other firms have tried similar schemes already. For example, Ford and Alibaba – the Chinese equivalent of Amazon – set up an app-controlled test drive vending machine earlier this year.

And several brands owned by Volvo’s parent company, Geely, are already developing innovative ownership systems. Polestar will set its new 1 grand tourer through a subscription scheme, while the Lynk&Co brand is being built around a similar model, along with an app that will allow users to share their car with others when not using it.

Volvo V60 estate priced from £31,810

It’s also hugely significant that Amazon is involved. So far, the internet giant’s interest in the automotive world hasn’t extended developing a version of Alexa for in-car infotainment systems and keeping Jeremy Clarkson and his chums in gainful employment.

But when Amazon decides it wants to get involved in an industry, it does so with conviction – and impact. The Amazon Prime Now service that the Volvo test drives will run through allows rapid ordering of groceries, household items and even takeaway meals in certain areas – disrupting a whole series of industries in the process.