In a one-month trial run in CaliforniaEBay is moving further away from the auction-based service that made the company the giant it is today and more into online retailer territory. In a move first rumored a month ago, eBay will start to sell new GM cars online on a co-branded site at gm.ebay.com. This is just a trial run set to end on September 8 and only available to dealers in California.
“With 12 million individual car shoppers visiting our site every month, eBay Motors has unique insight into how people prefer to buy their cars,” Rob Chesney, VP of eBay Motors, said. “As the dealer showroom expands from the parking lot to the laptop, this makes it easier for a customer to browse available new-car inventory, make an offer, buy it now, or send a message asking for more information from a dealer – all at the customer’s convenience,” Mark LaNeve, GM VP of US sales, added.
The trial program will start August 11 and will involve 225 Californian car dealers. The site is aimed at being an extension to the existing showrooms by providing additional information for users to compare prices and set up financial plans. Still, there is actually the possibility to buy the cars on the site through the traditional eBay options the “Buy it Now” button makes available but also by making an offer to the dealers. The cars themselves still have to be picked up at the dealer showrooms though. This first trial involves cars from GM's, Buick, Chevrolet, GMC and Pontiac brands and only 20,000 models will be offered.
EBay’s automotive arm, eBay Motors, has been quite successful in recent years but has so far sold only used cars so this new joint venture is a first for the site. The new cars will also show up in searches on the main site as well as in Motors. The site also has the option to trade in your old car in the “Cash for Clunckers” trade-in program, which has been very successful in the US after being launched in several European countries to spur sales in the declining economic conditions.