By on September 2, 2009

I know it’s early in the day, but GM’s spinmeistery has ascended to new heights. When contemplating the failure that is GM’s California eBay experiment, GM’s vice president of US sales displayed a Glengarry Glen Ross-like inability to face the music. The facts: despite Automotive News [sub] not-entirely-accurate assertion that the GM-eBay hook-up “lets consumers in California buy a new GM vehicle on the eBay Motors Web site” (every US state requires consumers to buy new cars through a dealer), the program has converted only 50 out of 16,000 listings. In total.

Automotive News looked at the results of 3,000 GM vehicles with seven-day eBay auctions that ended today, Sept. 1, and none was listed as sold.” Failure? What failure?

A GM statement said the program is boosting awareness of GM vehicles. GM says about 4,000 eBay shoppers entered into negotiations — either online, over the phone or in person — to buy a vehicle. The statement does not say how many sales resulted from the negotiations.

How about that? The nationalized automaker whose CEO swore to the Senate that New GM would be transparent (i.e., accountable) to US taxpayers won’t disclose its conversion rate. And now, LaNeve . . .

‘We are very pleased with the progress of the initial promotion and its ability to raise awareness and consideration for our outstanding new-vehicle inventory,’ Mark LaNeve, GM vice president of U.S. sales, said in the statement.

During a conference call with reporters today, LaNeve said: ‘The numbers on eBay itself aren’t significant, but we didn’t think it would be.’ He added: ‘The dealers want to continue it, and so we are working on making some tweaks to it and continue.’

Now that’s what I call management! FYI: The program began August 11. It was scheduled to end September 8. It will now run through September. Or longer.

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12 Comments on “Quote of the Day: GM’s Mark LaNeve Planned for Failure Edition...”

  • avatar

    I wonder how many people tried to get a deal on GM’s “Crown Jewels” (i.e.; much improved Equinox, Camaro, Malibu, LaCrosse, etc). These vehicles are popular and in short supply, while website visitors are opportunists trying to trim the profit to the bone. NO SALE

  • avatar

    Mark LaNeve & Michael Ironside (Scanners,Top Gun, Total Recall, Starship Troopers) – Separated at birth?

  • avatar

    Ebay is best for highly desired cars that are in scarce supply. Even then – you’d better be ready to travel to kick the tires, open the hood and take a test drive before bidding.

    Now, if the internet price was substantially below invoice for the run of the mill GM product – then maybe it might entice someone to bite, but then they are once again losing money on every car they sell.

  • avatar

    @ roadscholar (great username)

    Mark LaNeve & Michael Ironside separated at birth?

    Nah, he’s a Sontaran.

  • avatar

    Useless dribble. As long as LaNeve gets to keep his cheese. That’s all that matters to him.

  • avatar

    So he’s pretty much admitting to violating eBay terms of service, to wit: no outside deals on item listed on eBay…

  • avatar

    I saw why the GM eBay auctions failed. I looked at them myself and saw that most of the listing was just talking about the model and all of the pictures were PR photos of the model; there were no pictures of the actual car you were buying.

    Besides, new cars have been selling on eBay for years, what GM is doing is not so extraordinary. Dealers sell thousands of brand new cars every day on that site. (I just saw a Ford dealer trying to sell a brand new 2010 Taurus SHO). The difference is that the dealers run the auctions themselves, there is ONE actual person in charge of each auction, and the auction page is filled with pictures of the actual car you are buying.

    People are not going to just plunk down $30K over the internet for a mysterious car that is only represented by a few PR photos. Even if it is directly from GM, people are still not going to trust it.

    I think LeNeve needs to buy that Video Professor “How To Buy and Sell On eBay” program, then try again.

  • avatar

    Looks like the dude has alligator arms. He’s afraid to go over the middle…

  • avatar


    “Even if Because it is directly from GM, people are still not going to trust it.”

    There, fixed it for you.

  • avatar

    Nothing ventured, nothing gained. And he says straight out that the program hasn’t worked well. What’s the big deal?

  • avatar

    Ok so now a webpage hit has been redefined as “entering negotiations.” In addition, every time you or I pass a GM product on the road or in the dealer lot it is “raising awareness” of the GM brand. Do we have to pay for that? A toll or something that we leave at the local GM dealer?This is all part of that “hope and change” thing going on in our country. Ok, I got it. Just let me know when the rules change again or when a term is redefined. Perhaps GM can Wiki the words so we can play along at home.

  • avatar

    Well, I agree with you folks. GM eBay has been launched initially with 14,585+ listings for 7 days period, and by now total counts including re-listing is 45,000+. eBay successfully maintained listing count 10,000+ with a tool like Turbo Lister, when listing counts starts dropping by 2,500 to 3,000 every second day. Out of that 45,000+ listing not even 45 vehicles are sold successfully. More than 40% of buyers failed to get desired vehicle over eBay, If you look at the feedback profile at

    The total failure of GM eBay experiment or a venture is mainly due to not a single, but many reasons.

    1) The buyers really do not seem happy buying over eBay. 40% of buyers failed to get desired GM vehicle over eBay.

    2) As per’s analysts also estimated eBay’s “buy it now” prices are on average 2% higher than average market price, about $500 on a $25,000 vehicle.
    This do not leave any margin for buyers for further negotiations with Dealers.

    3) eBay itself violated many of it’s own policies for GM, eBay might be suspending sellers account if any other seller might have violated these policies.

    4) The market reputation of eBay is nothing more than a junkie with all sort of dirty tricks to get maximum revenue in terms of eBay fees. Followings are various excerpts from other forum or blogs.

    By shark98 (This buyer complained total switch of vehicle)
    Neither GM or eBay listen to any customer complaints while buying online on GMeBay.
    I was such a stupid decided to buy GM(???????)
    Followings are the links for buyers feedback:

    By Web Arts
    Followings are the recent videos originally posted by B.Cobberwood in European Auto Blog (non-English).
    eBay = FeePay Funny videos
    No More eBay
    GMeBay Story of Success Video

    download links:

    Further more, in a recent news GM has announced dropping of GM logo from the vehicles.

    As fellow member Runfromcheney said “People are not going to just plunk down $30K over the Internet for a mysterious car that is only represented by a few PR photos. Even if it is directly from GM, people are still not going to trust it.”

    I agree, coz buyers always look and feel while buying an expensive item. You simply can not trust fancy slide show over Internet.

    Any way GM with an experiment over eBay has already set a bench mark that other competitor would like to learn from or to follow! The untold many fold story is left to be completed by readers.

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