eBay, GM to Launch Site for New Cars

eBay and beleaguered automaker General Motors are making good on their plans to trial a novel partnership that will enable car shoppers to peruse GM’s California dealerships through the popular e-commerce hub.

Tomorrow, the companies plan to launch a Web site, gm.ebay.com, that will allow visitors to browse, click, haggle over prices and buy cars from the more than 225 participating GM dealerships.

eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY), which has long showcased cars and trucks for purchase on the Motors section of its site, said the new tie-in with GM will bring about 20,000 models onto its platform. The cars will be available for purchase as is, through eBay’s “Buy It Now” feature, or the new “Best Offer” option, which invites shoppers to name their price and start the negotiating process with the dealer.

In many ways, the partnership is meant to help rejuvenate GM, which emerged from bankruptcy protection in July and is operating under the guidance of the federal government, which has taken an active role in preserving the nation’s largest automaker.

“Through this program, we are helping GM dealers to extend their physical showroom while at the same time delivering to our buyers the great deals and broad selection they expect from eBay,” Rob Chesney, vice president of eBay Motors, said in a statement.

Mark LaNeve, GM’s vice president of U.S. sales, described the partnership as “reinventing the car-buying experience.”

“As the dealer showroom expands from the parking lot to the laptop, this makes it easier for a customer to browse available new-car inventory, make an offer, buy it now or send a message asking for more information from a dealer — all at the customer’s convenience,” LaNeve said.

The site will feature a comparison shopping tool for buyers to scout out prices at the participating California dealers. It will also include a feature that will give shoppers an estimate of the value of a trade-in and determine their eligibility to participate in the government’s “Cash for Clunkers” incentive program.

The partnership builds on eBay’s existing arrangements with GM to sell used vehicles on its site. Many California GM dealers already had a presence on eBay Motors, an arrangement formalized by their corporate parent signing on.

The promotional site is slated to be available from Aug. 11 through Sept. 8.

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