GM's EBay Experiment: 45 Sales in Nine Days

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

GM’s experiment at selling cars in California on eBay has logged 45 sales in its first nine days, reports Automotive News [sub]. After announcing the program to considerable hype, GM is giving initial results a cool reaction. “It’s way too early in the program to have any concrete understanding of what’s going on,” say spokesfolks. No wonder they’re a bit confused: the eBay experiment received 630,000 visits and more than 960,000 searches of listed vehicles in its first week. “I’ve sold some vehicles to people that saw the vehicles on eBay, but they didn’t buy them on eBay. They called, came in and bought them,” says one dealer. Still, without a number to quantify the amount of leads that generated sales, it’s hard to point out the program’s redeeming qualities. Especially considering that GM didn’t receive a single offer for a vehicle at its listed price. Which means either GM or its dealers are missing out on profit on every vehicle sold through the eBay listings.

Edward Niedermeyer
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  • Johneieio Johneieio on Aug 21, 2009

    Great notes about the California project. We welcome all the thoughts ... and when it comes to search, we hear you. That's one reason its called a pilot. Anyone who has ever done a project like this online will invariably get complaints about search. We can and must do better. Since we're GM, cutting and pasting someone else's search program is not something that is affordable or practical. Lots of at-home guys do that sort of thing ... we have to (and should) play by the rules. Great search comments, though. A few additional facts to consider: * Yes, shoppers are actually discounted BIN prices, and they can negotiate lower prices if they would like and the dealer is willing. Many of us like to do that ... some do not. Doing it in person can scare some folks, so using the technology to dicker at arm's length can be appealing. * 45 sales is misleading. The main goal of the California project is to generate leads for sales and expose the product to people who otherwise might not consider GM. All of the sales are happening at dealerships, so until we can match those results with an eBay lead, we won't really know the results ... it's not like buying a book or record on eBay where the transaction actually occurs online and is trackable at both ends. We've had nearly a million searches of inventory and about 2,400 offers to buy in just the first week, so we're off to a strong start. * People have often criticized GM as being too slow or not trying new ideas. We think this is a great thing to try and hope, if successful, we can roll it out nationally. * It really is about making it easier for customers to do business with us. Is it perfect? Not yet. Can we make it better? You bet. Will we try? Absolutely. It is the nature of new programs to start at the beginning and improve from there. Again, thanks to all for commenting. Good stuff. We appreciate it very much. --John M. McDonald General Motors Company Detroit

  • Ronmorrison Ronmorrison on Aug 28, 2009

    RE: Great News about the California Project John - very NICELY done! What I find most refreshing (without a doubt others will too) is that you listened directly to the concerns and issues in the community. It's clear that you read, re-read, and tried to understand all of the messages in this post at least. This isn't shameless pandering ... if we/I want better search, better strategy, better execution then the first thing that gets us there is someone listening on the other side. Nicely done. To the points of your lead generation program - rock and roll!!! If there are also training/coaching strategies for dealership internet staff to actively drive those leads then you're right - it's off to a roaring start. Good for you and your GM team. Keep driving! Ron Morrison

  • Kevin8721 Kevin8721 on Aug 29, 2009

    I was reading other auto forums and surfing GMeBay site for some nice deals. But, it seems like experienced buyers are not really happy for some reason. While reading car connections.... Reviews on GMeBay feedback do not seems to be attractive. one can look at following pics: or or It looks like a joke or funny pic. icon Anyway GM and eBay both are very disppointing.

  • Kevin8721 Kevin8721 on Aug 29, 2009

    While reading other autoforums, and surfing GMeBay for nice deal. It seems that buyers are not really happy. Have a look at following pics or or or GM and eBay both are disappointing.