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.
Marketplace is on a mission.
We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.
Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?