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AutoBlog: GM reportedly ending pilot eBay program, yet claims success

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Filed under: Car Buying, Auctions, GM

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Back in August, General Motors began a pilot program in which it opened up its own eBay mega store. A total of 225 dealers had participated in the California-only pilot, but GM has decided to pull the plug on the program effective today. With the program ending instead of expanding to all of the 50 U.S. States and beyond, many would call the program a failure. GM doesn't see it that way.

The General is calling its eBay experiment a success, stating that the program helped the Detroit, MI-based automaker reach potential customers who wouldn't have otherwise considered GM products. We're not so sure about that one, but then again we're not invited to many board meetings at the Ren Cen, either.

While GM and eBay aren't releasing the amount of sales generated by the program, some site statistics are being released. GM's auction site achieved a fairly impressive 1.5 million views during its month-and-a-half in existence, with a reported 15,000 dealer leads.

GM spokesman John McDonald says that the company is focusing its efforts on a new marketing campaign that touts the General's new 60 day money back guarantee. And just because GM is ending its eBay experiment, it doesn't mean that its thousands of dealers are going to stop posting new cars and trucks on eBay Motors. Dealers from all OEMs have been using the popular auction site for years, and it seems that the majority of auctions on the site now are of the dealer variety.

[source: Seattle Times]

GM reportedly ending pilot eBay program, yet claims success originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 30 Sep 2009 09:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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And so another GM gimmick of the month ends.

They are really pushing the money back guarantee, are they implying that buyer's remorse is a big problem at GM? The 60 day money back guarantee will be forgotten about by Christmas. Saturn did a a few years ago, no one cared, people forgot about it.

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So SMK, how would you market GM cars and trucks? I think trying new things is not bad.

By promoting the brand image of the brand (if GM can get a clear idea on what the image of each brand really is) and by promoting the features of the vehicles. Chevy should really be pushing "value" and trying to convince people how they get a lot of features for their money.

If GM wants a new sales channel, they should set up a website where you can choose any vehicle, pick colors, options, wheels, etc and then the factory will build it for you. Then you can pick it up at the factory and they can charge dealer invoice price. Lots of people would do it to have a car custom built, and to avoid hassle/haggle of car sales people, and to get guaranteed invoice price.

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If GM wants a new sales channel, they should set up a website where you can choose any vehicle, pick colors, options, wheels, etc and then the factory will build it for you. Then you can pick it up at the factory and they can charge dealer invoice price. Lots of people would do it to have a car custom built, and to avoid hassle/haggle of car sales people, and to get guaranteed invoice price.

smk, you've again said something that I thought I would never "hear" you say. I could get behind an idea like this one.

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By promoting the brand image of the brand (if GM can get a clear idea on what the image of each brand really is) and by promoting the features of the vehicles. Chevy should really be pushing "value" and trying to convince people how they get a lot of features for their money.

If GM wants a new sales channel, they should set up a website where you can choose any vehicle, pick colors, options, wheels, etc and then the factory will build it for you. Then you can pick it up at the factory and they can charge dealer invoice price. Lots of people would do it to have a car custom built, and to avoid hassle/haggle of car sales people, and to get guaranteed invoice price.

Good Idea. I will add custom shipping option, which will let GM ship the cars right to the door. Make the process transparent enough to show the customer what the status of the car is e.g. - like being build, shipped, etc.

However, given the current dealer law, I do not think GM will be able to sell it directly from the factory, but a neat idea akin Dell regardless.

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Good Idea. I will add custom shipping option, which will let GM ship the cars right to the door. Make the process transparent enough to show the customer what the status of the car is e.g. - like being build, shipped, etc.

However, given the current dealer law, I do not think GM will be able to sell it directly from the factory, but a neat idea akin Dell regardless.

I wondered about current dealer laws, but bankruptcy might have been their chance to throw a lot of that out the window. But probably too late now. If they had custom shipping, they should outsource it and let the customer pay the freight company. One less headache for GM to worry about, better to let a company that does shipping handle it, and GM focus on making cars. But the Dell-style build to order would keep demand accurately met and prevent unpopular colors/options from sitting on dealer lots. In theory it's a good idea but in reality probably isn't feasible.

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So SMK, how would you market GM cars and trucks? I think trying new things is not bad.

I may be in the minority here, but I don't think marketing is all that important. Crap cars are crap cars regardless of the composition of the commercial. Not only that, who actually believes these commercials where manufacturers toot their own horns? Only the generation that will be dead in a few years anyways (i.e. Buick drivers ;) ).

What has made GM interesting to me again is their MUCH improved design. If you see a new DTS. Malibu or Equinox on the road it actually looks good compared to the crap it replaced. These are rolling, everyday commercials and (I assume) they don't cost GM a thing.

Unfortunately the next step is the hardest one as it is less tangible: is beauty only skin deep? Safety, fuel economy, resale, and reliability are the key to getting informed buyers. I think GM is on their way here as well. However I don't think I will be willing to buy in for generation or so as I need to see them actually prove themselves.

Edited by GXT
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I may be in the minority here, but I don't think marketing is all that important. Crap cars are crap cars regardless of the composition of the commercial. Not only that, who actually believes these commercials where manufacturers toot their own horns? Only the generation that will be dead in a few years anyways (i.e. Buick drivers ;) ).

Yup, that is why Billy Mays and others made/make killing on all the spectacular products which are on display on shopping networks, and that is why there are inflated marketing budgets for almost every company.

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If GM wants a new sales channel, they should set up a website where you can choose any vehicle, pick colors, options, wheels, etc and then the factory will build it for you. Then you can pick it up at the factory and they can charge dealer invoice price. Lots of people would do it to have a car custom built, and to avoid hassle/haggle of car sales people, and to get guaranteed invoice price.

That is a remarkably good idea!

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That is a remarkably good idea!

Sure it is! I'm sure GM dealers would be all over that one. I'm sure you noticed my sarcasm. Yes, it is a good idea, on paper. So many issues about it though.

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I've noticed that I can order Dells online, at a mall kiosk, or go into Best Buy and pick one up off the shelf.

just sayin.....

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I've noticed that I can order Dells online, at a mall kiosk, or go into Best Buy and pick one up off the shelf.

just sayin.....

That's why I always order Dell. I can mix and match the options I want, and don't have to deal with sales people. The only draw back, would be the test drive. GM could have test drive specific lots, with just a couple of each car, so buyers could test drive them.

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Yup, that is why Billy Mays and others made/make killing on all the spectacular products which are on display on shopping networks, and that is why there are inflated marketing budgets for almost every company.

Some people are so brilliant that any and all advertising is irrelevant. They just know. :lol::rolleyes:

:smilewide:

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That's why I always order Dell. I can mix and match the options I want, and don't have to deal with sales people. The only draw back, would be the test drive. GM could have test drive specific lots, with just a couple of each car, so buyers could test drive them.

Motorshow in action was a good concept, which covered that part. Too bad GM ran out of money. It needs that show now considering how leaps and bounds the products have improved since the last show in November 2005.

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Motorshow in action was a good concept, which covered that part. Too bad GM ran out of money. It needs that show now considering how leaps and bounds the products have improved since the last show in November 2005.

They could have something like that, and have a kiosk for people to order the car the want online there also.

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Motorshow in action was a good concept, which covered that part. Too bad GM ran out of money. It needs that show now considering how leaps and bounds the products have improved since the last show in November 2005.

You never ask Toyota to demonstrate their leaps and bounds just assume it's good. :AH-HA_wink:

,but then again that's advertising for ya'. :lol:

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That is a remarkably good idea!

Yes, it is. I love it too.

However, it is illegal for GM to do due to franchising laws. And what's worse, the laws in each state are different.

It's an option unavailable to GM.

Sucks - but that's the reality.

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I like the idea of ordering just what I want then waiting on delivery. They can do it and get past the franchising laws by not cutting out the dealers. Find the model with the options from the build it link on the website. Then the car is shipped to the dealer of your choice. The dealer needs a little profit but not the full profit they can make now. The dealer doesn't have the expense of it sitting on his lot and the customer doesn't get pressured by a salesman. The could have an hourly office worker handle the final paperwork.

A drawback is you would lose out on any rebates since they usually happen as production is stopped prepping for the next model year.

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I like the idea of ordering just what I want then waiting on delivery. They can do it and get past the franchising laws by not cutting out the dealers. Find the model with the options from the build it link on the website. Then the car is shipped to the dealer of your choice. The dealer needs a little profit but not the full profit they can make now. The dealer doesn't have the expense of it sitting on his lot and the customer doesn't get pressured by a salesman. The could have an hourly office worker handle the final paperwork.

A drawback is you would lose out on any rebates since they usually happen as production is stopped prepping for the next model year.

Yes.

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One key item would be better car-building websites. Just about every one (by the manufacturer) I have tried has just plain sucked. Either they are slow and clunky, or incomplete, or outdated...

It has great potential, but usually comes-off quite badly.

I just don't get why third party sites do this so much better - they tend to be clear and complete as well as up to date.

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One key item would be better car-building websites. Just about every one (by the manufacturer) I have tried has just plain sucked. Either they are slow and clunky, or incomplete, or outdated...

It has great potential, but usually comes-off quite badly.

I just don't get why third party sites do this so much better - they tend to be clear and complete as well as up to date.

At one point of time, Lexus (gasp) used to have a good BYO website which was fast, intuitive and clean - I have not seen it in a while though. BMW has a good BYO, but is not fast. One thing I like about Porsche website is that it used to update even small changes in accessories, however, the website took ages.

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