GM dealers satisfied with eBay trial

Cars at Martin Cadillac in Yonkers, N.Y.

TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: One thing about the financial crises: they breed creativity. Take GM, for example. As it emerged from bankruptcy in July, it decided to try an experiment. It had its California dealers post new cars for sale on eBay. Well, that experiment ends today. Marketplace's Rico Gagliano brings us the report card.


Rico Gagliano: If you just look at the numbers, the program earned an "F." GM's California dealers posted tens of thousands of new cars on eBay. Judging by the company's seller profile, they only sold about 20 through the site.

But according to Automotive News reporter Richard Truett, Dealers still give the experiment a passing grade:

Richard Truett: They'll tell you, yes, they have seen people who have seen a car on eBay, but decided just to go down to the dealership and negotiate that way.

In fact, GM says the eBay posts led 15,000 buyers to contact dealers for price quotes. Those leads didn't translate into a significant uptick in sales, but Richard Truett says in California, just sparking consumer interest is a victory for GM.

Truett: Because they don't sell that many vehicles out there except for pickup trucks.

So why is the program ending? Phil Reed of Edmunds.com thinks GM is just retooling before a bigger relaunch.

Phil Reed: They feel that they're probably on to something. But they need to figure out how to turn it into real sales.

GM says it's considering rolling out some version of the program nationally. Meanwhile, its dealers continue to sell certified used vehicles on eBay.

In Los Angeles, I'm Rico Gagliano for Marketplace.

About the author

Rico Gagliano is the host of Dinner Party Download.

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