Additional information on the drive
released. The trial deployment will start in California.
In total, 225 of California's 250 GM dealers will be offering Buick,
Chevrolet, GMC and Pontiac vehicles for sale on a co-branded page of
eBay Motors, the site's auto marketplace. Auctions will start
September 8 and vehicles will be searchable both from the eBay and
eBay Motors homepages.
While many dealers have sold vehicles
on eBay in the past, the new program will mark the first time an
automaker has officially endorsed and promoted online sales of new
vehicles on eBay. For eBay Motors, it marks a departure from
the site's traditional bread and butter -- used car and parts
The site includes a tool to help customers figure out
whether they're eligible for thousands in "cash-for-clunkers"
stimulus money. Just like at the dealership, customers will
have the option of paying a fix price or haggling with a dealer.
EBay Motors Vice President Rob Chesney says California is the
ideal trial deployment for the program, given the state's tech-savvy
population. GM says the state is ideal, as it's one of the
states the company is targeting for sales improvement. The
program was first announced in July, with California being mentioned
as the likely trial state. No official deal had been revealed,
though, until this week.
GM Vice-Chairman Bob Lutz says the
online sales won't cut out dealers. He states, "There is
no model which can legally permit automobile companies to sell
directly to the customer. That’s just prohibited by law in
almost all states. But what we hope to do by this is…the
dealer puts up the car on that Internet auction and then the
customers can bid on them. Once the bidding is successful, the
customer then contacts that dealer for the pickup…Then there’s
always one issue that can never be dealt with on an Internet sale,
and that’s the question of the used car that the customer wants to
"Every 10 or 15 years or so, and I've
been in this business since 1963, in sales and marketing, some genius
invents a system that’s going to eliminate car dealers.
Everybody always gets excited an sometimes Wall Street puts a lot of
money into it and it always fails because the franchise independent
retailer is always the way to go. It always works best."
LaNeve, GM's vice president of U.S. sales believes that the site will
help provide customers with a greater sense of security when buying
vehicles online. GM would not reveal specific financial details
of the partnership. However, GM spokesman John McDonald says
the partnership should be profitable for both companies and could
expand across the country, if successful.