On Tuesday, GM started selling new cars through eBay. GM is trying out eBay to see if it can give it a shot in the arm, and help speed recovery. It has launched a co-branded site with eBay â€“ gm.ebay.com, and has several new cars up for sale there.
This is a novel idea because itâ€™s the first time a car manufacturer is trying to sell new cars on the internet, but before you get too excited, let me warn you that buying new GM cars from eBay will be nothing like buying other stuff from eBay, or even buying used cars from eBay Motors.
For starters, you canâ€™t bid for a car. Yes, thatâ€™s right, you are on eBay, but you canâ€™t bid. They have an option where you can submit your â€œbest offerâ€ for the car, and then it is up to the dealer to accept, reject or give you a counter â€“ offer.
The other way of buying new cars is using the all familiar â€œBuy It Nowâ€ option. Each car is listed with a â€œBuy It Nowâ€ price, and if you feel the price is good enough â€“ you can buy the car at that price.
So, there are two ways in which you can buy cars:
- Make an offer to the dealer.
- Buy it now at a predetermined price.
Cars on Offer
GM is selling 2008, 2009 and 2010 Chevrolet, Buick, Pontiac and GMC cars on the website. This is a pilot and only involves dealers from California.
The way it works is that you select a Make, Model, enter your zip code, and search for cars. The site will return results from dealers near that zip code, which match your criteria.
If you like a particular listing, you can either â€œBuy it Nowâ€ or â€œSubmit a Best Offerâ€.
If you select â€œBuy It Nowâ€, the dealer will contact you with the payment terms, and you can visit them and close the deal. If someone visits the dealer, and buys the car before you, then you donâ€™t get the car, even if you opted for the â€œBuy It Nowâ€ option.
The other option is to â€œSubmit a Best Offerâ€. When you do that; the dealer will either: accept, decline or negotiate with you. To me, this is the most beneficial aspect of the program.
If I know which car I want to buy, but donâ€™t have the time or temperament to haggle with dealers, then this opens up a new door for me. I can make an offer to a dealer anonymously, and haggle with him without sweating it out. If it doesnâ€™t work, then I havenâ€™t wasted a lot of time and effort, which is not how it works in real world haggling.
The pilot runs through September 8th, after which they will probably roll it out to other states, and modify it based on their experience. It will be interesting to see how it goes, and is certainly quite refreshing to see a new idea being tested out by the auto industry.
You can read more about the program in its FAQs listed here.
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