EBay, GM set to start car-selling trial from today

EBay, GM set to start car-selling trial from today

San Francisco: General Motors Corp. and eBay Inc. are expected to announce that hundreds of the auto maker’s California dealers will let consumers haggle over the prices of new cars and trucks through the online marketplace, as part of a previously disclosed trial.

About 225 of California’s 250 GM dealers are set to take part in the programme, which will begin on Tuesday.

They will be selling Buick, Chevrolet, GMC and Pontiac vehicles on co-branded websites through eBay’s online auto marketplace, eBay Motors, until 8 September. The cars will also be searchable through eBay Motors and eBay’s main site.

The trial is part of Detroit-based GM’s turnaround plan, making more official a practice some of its dealers had already participated in on their own. It expands an existing partnership covering GM-certified used vehicles sold through eBay.

It also marks a shift for San Jose, California-based eBay, since most of the vehicles sold on eBay Motors—a site that sells various types of vehicles and auto parts—have traditionally been used.

Starting Tuesday, eBay visitors will be able to visit Web pages such as Gm.ebay.com and Chevy.ebay.com, where they can browse new 2008 and 2009 vehicles, ask dealers questions and figure out financing.

The co-branded sites will also include a Web tool currently on eBay Motors that helps shoppers determine if they’re qualified to trade in their old car for money towards a new one under the government’s just refilled “cash for clunkers" stimulus programme.

Car buyers will be able to choose between the two standard options currently offered on eBay Motors: Negotiating a price with a dealer through the site or purchasing right then at a fixed price. Cars will be picked up at the dealerships.

eBay Motors’ vice-president Rob Chesney said the companies decided to run the trial in California because there are many tech-savvy consumers there.

eBay users who live outside California can contact dealers to see if they’re willing to sell and ship vehicles to them, he said.