Following Customers To The Internet

September 2006, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Rob Chesney - Also by this author

The 2005 decision by automakers to offer employee discounts to general consumers cleared new cars and trucks from dealer lots in record numbers. Now that the new-car inventory is low, used-car lots at dealerships are full and dealers are searching for new avenues to move used-car inventory.

The key benefit for consumers is that used-car prices are at the lowest point in two years according to a Wall Street Journal article in August.

Aside from incentives, two other factors point to an influx of used cars. In the coming months, massive numbers of rental and fleet vehicles will enter the used-car market coinciding with new model-year introductions. Also, rising gas prices will drive the resale of even more used SUVs and pickups as consumers leave their gas guzzlers in favor of fuel-efficient cars.

It’s times like these when eBay Motors can really help a dealer, serving as a complementary sales channel that broadens a dealer’s reach to a global marketplace with more than 10 million visitors per month. On eBay Motors, a car or truck sells every minute. Over the past five years, well over a million vehicles have been bought and sold on By far, it’s proved to be the most popular and successful online destination for selling all things automotive. In fact, nearly four of every ten automotive minutes are now spent on eBay Motors.

eBay Motors has become a very important channel for hundreds of dealers across America to sell excess inventory quickly at a profit. Listing a vehicle for sale on eBay Motors costs $40, and sellers pay an additional $40 if their vehicle is purchased. In contrast, AIADA’s Marty Bernstein recently wrote that marketing a vehicle in traditional mode and media can cost dealers $400.

With unprecedented numbers of used cars on the lot today, engaging a method to sell them more rapidly and still profitably can produce a significant competitive advantage for a dealer.

During these times, it’s very important that dealers set the right price in order to move these used cars on eBay Motors. Setting your starting price low allows bidders to feel they have a chance to win the auction. Positive auction emotion and momentum take over and the lower starting price has a better chance of increasing.

Traditionally, the eBay Motors site has enabled sellers to list vehicles in any of three formats:

  • An auction format
  • “Buy It Now” - fixed price format
  • Auction with “Buy It Now,” in which auction-style bids are placed but any buyer can end the auction before the first bid comes in – or before the reserve price is reached – by clicking the Buy It Now button and thereby agreeing to pay the fixed price

Or, to better replicate the bargaining process of a traditional dealership, the new Best Offer feature allows buyers and sellers to barter together to reach the best price. Buyers can send an offer, and find out whether the seller accepts. Here’s how to take advantage of the Best Offer feature:

  1. Choose the “fixed price” format instead of “auction” when listing the vehicle
  2. Enter an asking price (Buy It Now price) and be sure to select the “Best Offer” option
  3. Place "Best Offer Available" in the vehicle description section of the listing
  4. Negotiate with the buyer through eBay tools the same as you would in an off-line environment

Changes in the used car marketplace will force many dealers to rethink their selling strategy. Just as OEMs have looked to incentives to drive sales, used car dealers will need to find ways to move inventory as well. eBay Motors is a proven way for dealers to reach a national consumer marketplace inexpensively and offers a strong strategy for staying ahead of the used-car influx.

Vol 2, Issue 10

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