GM and eBay Part Ways Because Dealers Can’t Manipulate Customers

posted in: Online Around the Net | 4

Was it any surprise?  As you know if you’ve been reading this blog, I have no love for selling cars on eBay.   “GM Learns eBay the Hard Way” was another post where I introduce the idea that GM is whack attack for trying this.  The program is over.  The numbers sucked.  The Times reviewed eBay auction data for the last two weeks. In that period, there were only 13 recorded sales out of more than 21,000 listings.  But what about increase dealer leads you say?  If there was, they wouldn’t cancel the program.  In typical manufacture/dealer relationship fashion, the program was introduced by GM but the dealers didn’t get it.  Or says one customer as covered by the Los Angeles Times.

“I think even the dealers didn’t understand the program,” said Cal West, a would-be car buyer who is a manager at Kaiser Permanente in Northern California.

West said he bid on, and won, six auctions for Pontiac Solstice coupes before completing a sale. In each case, he said, the dealers refused to honor the online selling price, and it was only after protracted negotiation with a dealer in Southern California that West was able to seal the deal, paying $30,700 for the vehicle.  ~ LA Times.

Anyone will remember 10-15 years ago when the dealers got pissed over the “revolution” of the internet.  That is except for GM who built this internet program.  If I were sitting inside my sales office and the memo came over regarding the eBay program, it would have been one more thing to annoy me about GM that day.  “Now, I’ve got to upload inventory to eBay?”  Hello!  I’m trying to focus on my resume right now.   

But the reality is that franchise law requires cars to be sold by a dealer.  The eBay program was designed to have fixed pricing a la Saturn (opps) or through the “make an offer” button.  Clearly dealers didn’t want to accept blind offers from an email.  Where is the fun and manipulation of the customer in that? 

The program turned out to be nothing more than a glorified lead generator, that didn’t work, and PR exercise for the failing company.   GM says they haven’t given up on eBay but they are now focused on 60 day return policy gimmicks.  Additionally, they still sell certified used cars through eBay and plan to come back to it for new cars at some point in the near future.   At least they are trying.  I’ve got to give them that.  But that’s all I’m giving them ok?

4 Responses

  1. EMPM, Esq.

    I think part of the problem, too, was people realized after winning the auction they would be stuck with a car from GM.


    I keed, I keed…

  2. Scott84

    Dealers still don’t seem to take the web seriously. I’ve submitted requests for quotes that go unanswered for days, even weeks. The higher you go up the food chain for a good quality car, the better it gets. But I’ll still never understand why the dealers don’t take each lead seriously and bug the crap out of me like they do when I walk on the lot.

  3. earned911

    I’ll jump into this with comments from Scott84. I work in the auto lead area and I can tell you that most of the dealers don’t even get the leads they are sent. They end up in outer space, or in someone’s email box that doesn’t work at the dealership anymore. If someone does get it, it’s usually a 20 year that doesn’t know anything about customer service, and often times they are just there to print out the email and give it to a slick sales dude with the pinky rings – then he circular files it because you didn’t walk in the door.
    In about 10 years, most of the stereotypical sales guys will be put out to the used lot to make way for the Gen Y sales people – Then programs like EBay will work.

  4. Tire Kicker

    What scares me most is that Gen X, Y, Z, P, D, Q, or whatever is next, will think that American cars are cool. Like fashion, they start becoming the “in” thing to drive. Then GM and the unions will never learn their lesson.

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