Tuesday, August 11, 2009

GM to Hawk New Vehicles on EBay in California

General Motors has some cars to show you.

General Motors

The government-rescued automaker announced on Monday that it is starting a trial in which consumers can buy new cars through eBay, the online sales site, allowing them to purchase Chevrolets, Buicks, GMCs or Pontiacs without setting foot in a dealership.

The program is being limited initially to California, but the company hopes to extend it across the country.

The company pitches the effort as a sign of renewed innovation at the automaker, which underwent a bankruptcy filing earlier this year and has been kept afloat with a $50 billion investment by U.S. taxpayers. For years, industry critics have said that the old way of buying cars should be scrapped, with haggling at the dealership replaced by online, fixed-price sales.

"GM and our dealers are reinventing the car buying experience," Mark LaNeve, GM vice president of U.S. sales said.

GM may be the first automaker to so fully embrace online sales, but analysts say the program's popularity will depend on its execution.

Currently, eBay lists many cars for sale, but a large majority of those are used. This latest program makes more new GM vehicles available online.

When the site, gm.ebay.com, begins operation Tuesday, consumers will be given the option to "buy it now," without haggling, or begin a more traditional sales negotiation by making an offer on a car. They can also simply do research: They can 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.

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