General Motors has just launched a new sales campaign on Ebay....GM will be selling new cars on the Ebay motors site. The campaign is a test program and limited to only California.
The program is designed to help GM recapture lost market share in California which has dropped substantially lately. The program is limited to California since GM would like to build its market share there. Currently, GM only has a 13.5 percent market share in the state, GM's national market share is 19 percent.
Previously, Ebay has listed only used automobiles for sale. GM is closing almost 40% of of their existing dealer network by the end of 2010....they are now looking for more cost effective sales channels.
Approximately 90% of the California GM dealers have signed on to the Ebay plan. The test runs thru September 8th......if the new marketing works GM plans to extend the program to other states.
The new site www.gm.ebay.com sells the Buick, Chevrolet, GMC and Pontiac brands. I was somewhat surprised that Pontiac was listed since they are going to discontinue the brand next year. The former brands Hummer, Saturn and Saab are all brands that have been sold and will not be sold thru the site.
The website allows consumers to search for available models at existing local dealerships. Some of the additional features of the site are that can do research, compare prices across models and dealerships, determine the value of their trade-in and check whether they qualify for the federal "Cash for Clunkers" program.
In addition, the site allows the customer to pay the discounted price shown or make an offer as to what they are willing to pay, then negotiate with the dealer online.
I am enthused that GM has decided to think outside of the box with the new Ebay marketing. A car purchase is a major purchase decision for most consumers. I don't think that online car shopping will replace the dealership experience.
Generally, consumers have used the Internet to gather information about the car and pricing. When someone is interested in buying a car that they have never driven....they need to touch the car and feel the car. It is difficult to tell whether your interested in a car until you have driven the car, see the available colors in person and examine the options.