By on December 7, 2010

GM’s attempt to sell cars via eBay resulted in 45 cars sold in the first nine days. A month later, the idea was abandoned. I wonder why. A few weeks ago, Kia said they would try eBay. No word yet on any results. Now, China’s Geely joins the on-line fray.

Geely began selling cars online yesterday “to tap into the purchasing power of the nation’s hundreds of millions of netizens,” as the officious news agency Xinhua reports.

Geely isn’t using eBay, they are using Taobao. Taobao, owned by Alibaba, is China’s leading e-commerce website that oddly also made major inroads into Japan. Taobao says it has 300 million registered users, amazing when you learn that China has about 420 million internet users.

For the time being, Geely sells only Gleagle Panda-branded cars on-line, but plans to add more later. Special models for online customers are in the cards.

The way it works is that Geely runs on-line promotions. The current star is the Geely Gleagle Panda hatchback. If you want one, you pay 288 yuan ($43) on-line. As UPS doesn’t deliver cars yet, buyers must go to their dealer, have the opportunity for a test drive, and then can drive away with their on-line Panda, after all the payment and paperwork is completed.

Let’s see how that works. In China, anything is possible.

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