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Old 07-13-2009
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Default GM Cars the Next eBay Daily Deal?

GM emerged from bankruptcy on Friday and announced that as part of its efforts to make car-buying more convenient, it was working with eBay to allow customers to bid on vehicles. eBay's PR team said no deal had been reached, but acknowledged that eBay Motors has been in discussions with General Motors "to identify innovative ways to help dealers market vehicles."

Jesse Toprak, Senior Analyst at automotive website Edmunds.com, said selling new cars online was a good fit due to transparency ("look at what happened to travel agents," he said pointing out that most people now go online to purchase travel tickets), but did not know if it would take off on a large scale for automobiles. "A lot of people won't trust the system at first. People are used to buying CDs on eBay, not a $40,000 car."

As for the auction format, Toprak said it would work for some cars, but not for all cars. "For most mass-produced vehicles, you probably don't need to go through an auction to get a decent deal." But for cars in hot demand, such as the newly redesigned Chevy Camero, which is selling at sticker and sometimes above, then it might be worth checking in to an auction to see if you can get a better deal, he said.

General Motors and eBay have worked together in the past, forming a strategic marketing relationship in 2001, and agreeing to list the entire GM Certified Used Vehicles inventory on eBay Motors in a classified ad format in 2008 at no cost to dealers.

Lately, eBay has been seeking out special arrangements with manufacturers and retailers as part of its effort to revive the marketplace. On March 26, eBay featured a car on its Daily Deals, a feature that promotes heavily discounted products from hand-picked partners. According to Automotive News (via Cnet), a dealership in suburban Atlanta offered a new 2008 Saab 9-3 for sale on eBay Daily Deals for $18,725, 40% off sticker price. Additional automobiles were sold as part of the promotion.

eBay's partnerships have angered long-time sellers not privy to the deals. On Thursday, sellers were buzzing about eBay's deal with ideeli to feature Cole Haan designer goods in a 2-day sale featured on its home page and throughout the site.

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