By on April 16, 2013
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In a move sure to cause concern at every brick and mortar car dealership, Tred.com has begun a program that allows you to order a car online and have it delivered to you at your home for a test drive.

For just $349, a fee that is refundable should you actually purchase a car through the service at their “great price,” Tred will bring the car of your choosing to your house where, presumably, you will be able to better assess its qualities by stuffing it with your kids and their related paraphernalia, your bicycles and any other life-essentials that you happen to have laying about. Narrowed down your options but still not set on which exact car you want? For just 499 refundable upon purchase dollars, you can have two cars delivered.

In an era where more and more car buying research is done on-line, this seems like a natural extension of that process. I assume the purchase price is similar to other car buying services offered at places like Costco so this really comes down to a matter of convenience. The cars will be delivered by a “concierge” who will help explain the various features of the vehicle and help you decide which features may or may not be right for you. Good thing or not? You decide.

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25 Comments on “Car Buying Now Brought To Your Doorstep...”


  • avatar
    lon888

    This sounds like what the Japanese have done for years. Since in most Japanese househols, the lady of the house is also keeper of the coin. A sales rep makes an appointment with said lady, brings around a car and several brochures and she usally arranges the sale. Everything is done at the house.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    $499 for a head-to-head test drive of two cars. Hmm. Would be nice if, say, all categories had just two competitors. Mid-size family sedans: Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Chevy Malibu, Ford Fusion. Can I get all five for $499? Or will it take $499 + $499 + $349 to drive them all? And if so, would it all be refundable upon purchase, or just the initial $499?

    ATS, C-Class, 3-Series, A4: That’s $998 worth of test driving, right there.

    In summary, I think it’s a good idea, this concierge service. But thinking their pricing may be their downfall.

  • avatar
    Waterview

    Where do I “check the box” for 1) Lamborghigi Gallardo and 2) Ferrari (bring whatever model you have sitting around)? All for $499 – love it!

  • avatar
    Sammy B

    Good service, but the $ seems a little high for most people. Lowes usually charges $30 to come out and measure for carpet. Refundable once you place your order. According to the sales clerk I talked with, this turns a lot of people off. Different purchases & behaviors (carpet vs car), but still….the upfront $ is going to turn many away.

    I’ve had luck just politely asking if I can take the car home. Show my wife. see if my stuff fits in (car seats/stroller for example). Make sure it fits in the garage properly. I basically sign a 2-3 hr rental agreement for 30 miles or so. As long as I’m honest and upfront, I’ve never had a salesperson say I can’t do this. All without cost or obligation to buy. Granted, these aren’t Lamborghinis, but still.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    Right. A business based on the premise that a buyer – already cost conscious – is going to pony up this money on spec? And what will be the qualifying method? As Waterview’s comment shows, what limitations are built in? Are you willing to put your credit history and the ensuing hit evidenced by the inquiry in yet one more place in the ether? I would have to see the details to make an evaluation of this idea. If the buying public went to their local dealer proclaiming the ability and willingness to pay $499 over invoice, they would make the experience less stressful on both parties. I can envision a whole new definition of red-lining. Will a Compton resident get an Audi S brought to their door? Not damn likely, even with an 800 score. The people this will appeal to are already on a smart dealer’s radar for this kind of treatment. Without any up-front costs.

  • avatar
    TorontoSkeptic

    I don’t know, this sounds pretty good to me… if you have young kids it’s damn hard to get out for long shopping trips and car comparison shopping, the idea of someone dropping off test drive cars at my house sounds great. Does raise a few issues in my area though, e.g. it’s a downtown area without widely available parking, where are you supposed to keep the car overnight? Who’s liable if it gets broken into?

    A few details to iron out but I definitely like the direction this is going.

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    Yeah, I’m all for this and the fee discourages any frivolous individual from being a nuisance.

    I haven’t had a need for such a concierge service, nor have I had any problems buying new cars. I believe that is because I am able to walk away from a ‘deal’ and return to shop another day.

    Someone in the car business once told me that buying a car is something that should be easy with all the pieces falling into place. If one or more aspects don’t quite work for you you should step away from the dealer because there will always be another car at another time or another place.

    It seems to me that this service can only assist a potential buyer to make the process easier and make some of the pieces more readily fall into place.

    The only thing I would add is pre-qualification if financing is needed or otherwise determine if a person is financially sound because even the refundable fee isn’t going to cover a repo or a disgruntled buyer of a lemon. Sounds like a job for contract attorneys to protect the interest of the sellers.

  • avatar
    CoastieLenn

    On thier mobile site, pricing is $179 for one car delivered and $299 for two cars delivered. Not too bad!

  • avatar
    7402

    From the web site, right side of the main page:

    “Need more time with the car? If you have a trade-in, we can arrange for you to keep the car overnight.”

    As much as the basic concept appeals to me, this makes me thing the whole thing is a front to make lots of money on your trade in. If so, move along as there is nothing new here.

    Looking back at least to the late 1980s (dating myself, I know), I can’t think of a dealer that wasn’t willing to let me take a car home overnight or even for the weekend once I showed them I was serious.

  • avatar
    corntrollio

    Some people with money already use services like this. Of course, they probably are paying full MSRP, not something close to invoice. I have a family member with more money than brains who uses services like this for buying fairly mundane vehicles because he doesn’t want to deal with the hassle at the dealership, and he pays full MSRP + a ridiculous markup by the car-buying service.

    Furthermore, a lot of dealerships will let you try a car over the weekend if you ask nicely.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    Or just rent the car you are interested in from Hertz, Enterprise, etc for $39 per day.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    Yes, the freewheelin’ days of the used car lot.

    The rollerblading chimp was gold, the bear AND the tiger trying to eat the guy was edifying and that cougar must’ve been having a Nam flashback or something, but they seemed to have forgotten to include two midgets having a knife fight.

    And for the love of God, please tell me that chimp was actually doing some exhaust work.

    People must’ve been really trusting back then to let this sort of showmanship convince them the dealership was their friend.

    Different world, I guess.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    The part about the fee being applied toward the purchase of one of their cars sounds good, but unless you just don’t mind parting with $400-500 dollars, it does limit your purchasing range and power. If the specification of the car you want—or something close to it—can be found at Hertz or Enterprise or Avis, you’re better off just renting it for a day…

  • avatar
    JSF22

    I’m waiting for the dealers to shut them down. It probably violates salesperson licensing laws, or bird-dogging laws, or brokering laws, or something, and the dealers will find them. If car dealers would take the resources they spend fighting anything new, like keeping Tesla from opening factory showrooms, and spent the same effort fixing the things that make us hate them, everyone would be better off.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      For this one, I’m not sure. I’m sure dealers will try to stop it, if they feel it will cut into their business and if they can, however, buying services have always existed.

  • avatar
    Xeranar

    This seems overly convuluted but I’m sure there is a large group of people who will jump on it. I personally enjoy the showroom experience because if a salesperson gets pushy I can leave. If I get a modicum of humanity out of them that’s even better. By the time I’m in a dealership I’m trying cars for size. But that’s me and my lack of small children.

  • avatar
    fordcomm

    Is Tred buying its cars direct from the manufacturers? If so, you’d think an OEM’s dealer network would be a tad upset. The end run around the dealership for the initial sale is bad enough, but you’ve also created an orphan customer that has no connection to a particular dealership for routine maintenance and service, warranty work, recalls and so on.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      “but you’ve also created an orphan customer that has no connection to a particular dealership for routine maintenance and service, warranty work, recalls and so on.”

      Stealership sales departments already do that. Once the salesperson is done with you, even if he/she says that he/she will back you up with the service department, good luck getting them to answer the phone. It’s hard enough to track them down for sales-related questions after the sale is made. That’s why I’d never buy a car with a “due bill” — the service folks would blame the sales folks and vice versa, and you’d never get what you need.


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