By on August 10, 2009

At some point, maybe even soon, will be up and running. For some reason, the GM – eBay program—highly touted by CEO Fritz Henderson on the day of GM’s re-emergence from bankruptcy—only runs from August 11 (tomorrow) through September 8. So we should expect to see the main site go live at what, midnight? Thankfully, at least in some sense of that word, (and the Buick, GMC and Pontiac-related url) is go. Ish. “Our Best Cars. Your Best Offer” doesn’t sound right to me. Shouldn’t that be OUR best offer? And what’s with Pontiac inclusion in the boondoggle? Anyway, what will we see when the curtain goes up?

Consumers will be able to browse hundreds of California dealer online showrooms, ask questions, negotiate prices, and arrange financing and payment to purchase a new 2008, 2009 or select 2010 car, crossover or truck online. With more than 225 GM dealers in California participating, shoppers can at any given time expect to see a wide selection of up to 20,000 new GM vehicles at very competitive prices. Vehicles will be offered through eBay Motors’ traditional formats such as “Buy It Now” (where shoppers agree to pay the advertised price) and eBay’s innovative “Best Offer” option (where buyers indicate the price they are willing to pay and can negotiate online with the dealer for the vehicle).

Yes, well, what about honest-to-God comparison shopping? Can surfers check apples-to-apples vehicle prices across GM dealers?

The site also incorporates features that will allow consumers to compare pricing across models or participating dealerships, get tips and advice with a Buyer Checklist, and determine the value of their trade-in or whether their current vehicle may also qualify for government funded ‘Cash For Clunkers’ incentives.

So, it’s an easy button, then. We shall see. Meanwhile, questions, questions, questions: Why just California? Will this move improve transparency for customers? Who gets the customer data: GM, eBay, the dealers or all three musketeers? TTAC is investigating.

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20 Comments on “GM Launches Non-Functional California eBay Website...”

  • avatar

    Some folks love to haggle. Now you can do it from home. No more sitting in a little cubicle, waiting while the salesman runs back to the manager.

    Why not California as a place to start? Its not like GM is worried about destroying the market there.

  • avatar

    Something tells me that this will simply involve porting the usual “bricks & moratar” car dealers’ scams to a new “virtual reality” location.

  • avatar

    This would be a great idea if it was done just a little differently. GM should offer the cars they have in storage, not on dealer lots, for sale on eBay. Set the reserve price at a profit, but much less than a dealer could sell the vehicle for, and let it go. Buyers must provide proof of financing, or apply through GMAC before bidding, and when it’s over, ship it to the dealer of the buyer’s choice. Pay said dealer a fee to prep and deliver the car.

  • avatar

    The price first customers will be there to fight it out online. Toyota, Honda, Hyundai and Ford will be delighted.

    One question; I wonder if they will have buyer and seller ratings??

  • avatar

    Why bother building the cars and then storing them? Why not just let people configure the car the way they want it, and then build it and ship directly to their home via flatbed?

  • avatar
    Samuel L. Bronkowitz

    I fear that this is just a clever way getting you deeper into the sales process before you visit the dealer and get the same old garbage. There’s no way those old dogs are ever gonna learn any new tricks.

  • avatar
    Old Guy Ben

    I’m excited.

    I would never use it, but it’s exciting. It’s like they are acknowledging the internet exists. Or something.

    I wonder if they’ll be any better than the guy in my area on Ebay Motors that has a three year old Escalade “priced to sell” with $80,500 as the starting bid. Only 39,000 miles!

  • avatar

    ebay isn’t about apples to apples it’s about bidding on something and hoping you put in the winning (highest) bid. ebay does allow you to see the bidding and that gives you some idea about how much others think the item is worth

  • avatar

    Old Guy Ben :
    August 10th, 2009 at 10:49 am

    Holy NSFW!!!! Is the guy trying to pay off his mortgage with his used Slade?

    This “experiment” of GMs should be interesting, but I agree with those commentators who say that GM would be smarter to use it to clear out the parking lots filled with new cars and trucks silently beginning the decomposition process.

  • avatar

    Your link above to the GM site doesn’t have a placeholder because the link is wrong. It is not “” it is just “” or

    You still won’t see much in the way of functionality – just the same placeholder as the Chevy site.

  • avatar

    New GM had a real opportunity here, and they’ve already blown it.

    By going through bankruptcy and making dealers sign new franchise agreements, they’ve torpedoed whatever franchise protections those dealers would have enjoyed. New GM should be selling cars on eBay straight to the public, with no middleman. Isn’t that what this site has supported for years?

  • avatar

    supposedly Cadillac won’t be included under this program….WTF.

    why leave out your theoretically most educated, wealthiest consumers who probably value their time very much?

  • avatar

    Where is the buying experience? I was always told people like to touch things,especially cars. View the sparkling paint, sit inside, smell the leather, grab the steering wheel,play with the gadgets, you know it builds excitement. Especially on the new GM cars that are being introduced, one would think that to be the case. It seems to be a failure in the making if you are starting out with your main concern being price. That is the normal result when using an ebay type system. A bunch of lifeless drones sitting on the other end of the computer searching for the last $50.00 off a product they really know nothing about. So GM are you selling the sizzle, or wholesaling lots number 1,2,3, and 4?

  • avatar

    mikey: Some folks love to haggle. Now you can do it from home. No more sitting in a little cubicle, waiting while the salesman runs back to the manager.

    Well, folks who go through the online process while at work will still be sitting in a little cubicle waiting while the salesman runs back to his manager. Only now they’re waiting on an e-mail response while doing something else instead of bored at a dealership waiting on a sweaty fat guy to take his cigarette break before helping you(true story from weekend test driving).

  • avatar

    Do you have to be a resident of CA to bid? I would think not but you never know.

    Also wonder how much the Camaro’s (if available) will end up going for. We’re also mildly interested in a Traverse and I’d much rather take the short trip to CA than deal with the sleazebag dealers here in northern NV.

  • avatar

    Who says you can’t test drive the car before bidding on eBay? These are new cars… they are all alike.

    Do what people have done for years for other items, you visit the local retail store to try on some shoes then write down the model name and size… go home and Google the same item or look on eBay and buy it for 50% less than the local store.

    A friend and I did this for a new car a few years back. He wanted an Acura TL, drove a couple and decided what he wanted. The closest dealer was asking over MSRP for the cars so we just sent out a half-dozen emails to the next closest dealers within 150 miles… ended up getting it two days later for $400 over invoice from a dealer 40 miles away (or about $4,500 less than the first dealer was asking for the same car).

    I would argue that it’s the dealers and GM who started the whole focus on price. Between rebates and weekend newspaper ads covered with starburst price announcements customers are accustomed to waiting for a better deal. Then again, the term “horse trading” goes back a lot further in time than cars, so perhaps this has always been normal behavior.

  • avatar

    This is how GM needs to sell cars:

    Starting price = $1
    No reserve.

    Let the auction begin.

  • avatar

    While reading other blogs, I found following interesting originally posted by GM Lover:

    GM probably will be charged for all cars to get listed (Listing Fees), no matter if it sells or not. Once sold, GM has to pay heavy Final Value Fee plus paypal fee. This is on top of the dealer commission….”

    Actually these over-heads will be passed on to the buyers. buyers will end-up paying unnecessary price hike of minimum $2000 or more.

    so final results will be:

    1) Buyers has to pay minimum $2000 or more while purchasing from eBay GM instead of getting walk-in cash discount of minimum $1200~$1800.

    2) GM is cutting down dealership by 40% who is going to provide services after sales? As of now, 225 of 250 dealers in the state of California participated, and later on it result in vanishing physical identities of Authorized GM Dealers. The whole picture is very gloomy.

    3) In critical time for the company like GM, and hit by the recession, GM has tied with company eBay whose market reputation is not really as good as Amazon. eBay and PayPal to gather are involved in tons of insider trading, insider auto bot bidding to get higher final value fees and higher percentage of comission. eBay and PayPal are involved in tons of scams, that reader of this post would like to look at the web-site called paypalsucks (dot) com. You will probably never find a site like this for any other good reputed online marketing or auction companies. Any financial scam by eBay or PayPal definitely damage GM Market Reputation too. I am worried coz I have GM, and I LUV GM.

    There were plenty of better choices like Autotrader or Cars available for GM other than eBay where as on eBay most of the visitors concern is to look for something cheap.

    In name of GM, eBay and PayPal will definitely going to prosper themselves by milking the cow and their customers with other products.

    GM has to very sure that GM customer information is not leaked to any other competitive automobile companies for just greed of money.

    4) eBay revenue went up during last year due to hike in their fees, plus insider mafia activities of capturing someone’s well-reputed business items by kicking out, or blocking original player, or buying his well developed eBay account. eBay is highly influenced for selling out their members information and data statistics for few hundred of bucks.

    5) According to Don Folk, a Chevrolet dealer. “What it always boils down to, is that before making a major purchase like an automobile … a person would want to get in the vehicle [and] drive the vehicle,” he said. “You’re still going to have to touch the metal.”

    Adobe and probably Microsoft may have some success with eBay for software. You simply can not compare Automobiles with software. Automobile you always wanna have a ride, touch, see and feel.

    6) Getting the parts will be the pain for buyers. Most of the parts available on eBay are not authentic, but fake, imitated like original made in Taiwan, not really made in US. Normally Taiwan parts runs when you replace it, but no one can say when it gonna break.

    Most of the parts makers, parts suppliers, dealers and virtually every company in the automotive sector are out of business now in US.

    7) Buyer have to be extra cautious coz all information about the car he or she is planning to buy from GM eBay is already available to many people before he or she actually purchase it.

    8) eBay and PayPal policy about money refund is also not very clear.

    9) In case of refund. Whom PayPal is going to support GM (with a greed of commission) or a buyer?

    10) Buyer has to work out for competitive insurance quote too!


  • avatar

    Followings are excerpts from other forums posted by others:

    Let us have a close look to the lowest priced vehicle listed on GMeBay and other terms and conditions .

    2009 Chevrolet Aveo LS US $10,325.00 (Walk-In Lowest Quote for the same so far was US $9625.00)
    Plus government fees and taxes, any finance charges, any dealer document preparation charge, and any emission testing charge. These will lead buyers total Cost Of Ownership to $25,500+ approximately.

    = />If buyers can negotiate a way better face-to-face than eBay, what is the use of submitting best offer and getting unwanted calls from all possible marketing channels?

    Warranty Details
    100,000 Mile/5 Year* Transferable Powertrain Limited Warranty plus Roadside Assistance and Courtesy Transportation Programs.

    = />5 Year forecast about GM and GM’s Dealer is full of thunder storms and strong wind waves, which may blew many dealers off the business.

    Shipping Details
    Delivery options for your vehicle can be arranged between you and the GM dealer you purchase the car from.

    Where are these vehicles located?
    A: The vehicles that you can select from are located at participating California GM dealerships. By entering your zip code to begin your search, eBay Motors will be able to provide results that show actual vehicles at dealerships in your locale.

    = /> By entering your zip code, the buyers are revealing their identities. The buyer may be targeted many on-line marketing channels.

    How can I pick up my new vehicle?
    A: You can pick up your new vehicle at the GM dealership you’ve purchased it from. If the selling dealership is not in your geographical location, you can arrange shipping options with the dealer. As with all eBay transactions, shipping costs are generally the buyer’s responsibility.

    = /> The buyers may end up to pick up new vehicle from remote and distant located GM Dealers, which adds up higher cost of delivery.

    Payment Instructions
    If you click on “Buy It Now” or “Make an Offer” you are making an offer to purchase the vehicle at a specified price. Although the selling dealer may confirm that the price is acceptable online, there is no binding agreement to sell you the vehicle until you and the dealer reach final agreement on satisfactory payment arrangements for the vehicle and for delivery. Each dealer may have its own payment terms applicable to the sale of the vehicle. The dealer should contact you if your price is accepted to make these, and potentially other, arrangements. If the dealer does not contact you, GM will follow up with you and facilitate that contact, but you should feel free to contact the dealer yourself to make these arrangements.

    = /> Under both options, “Buy It Now” and “Make an Offer” do not guaranty buyer that he or she will get the vehicle. These terms looks like a buyer’s trap in GM Dealers Network plus other marketing channels.

    Sharing Information with GM Dealers and GM
    When you ask a question, submit an offer, or click on Buy It Now for a vehicle listed as part of the GM/eBay new vehicle website, your personal information will be shared with GM and participating Chevrolet, Pontiac, Buick or GMC dealers, who may use your information to communicate with you about your expression of interest and to evaluate the effectiveness of the promotion. It may also be used by our suppliers to provide services. If you have questions please contact GM at 1-866-465-1005 or the selling dealer at the toll free number provided with the vehicle listing.

    = /> The processes “Buy It Now” and “Make an Offer” look like identity theft, as it does not meet normal standard of online privacy protection. There is no guaranty has been provided so far, either by eBay and PayPal, that your personal and other financial information will not be shared to other marketing channels.

    The whole game looks like a catch, buyer’s trap, in which buyers may be a victim of many marketing channels.

  • avatar

    Whoever wrote that really doesn’t have a clue about how eBay motors works.

    There is no listing fee to post a car on eBay Motors.
    There is no Final Value Fee for cars sold on eBay Motors.

    Your average car dealer pays a fee of about $100 for every car successfully sold on eBay motors. I’m sure that GM has negotiated a better price than that for their volumes.

    And all that rubbish about PayPal doesn’t apply at all. None of the GM car postings accept PayPal.

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