New Hampshire Dealer Builds Business On eBay Motors

September 2006, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Rob Chesney - Also by this author

When Wensel Hobsen listed his first vehicle on eBay in 2001, he simply was looking to pay the caterer for his wedding. Two and a half years later, Hobsen finds his business more profitable than ever because of his ability to move product through eBay Motors.

Hobsen is the owner of Karbucks, an independent car dealership in Exeter, NH. Before beginning Karbucks, Hobsen specialized in selling European vehicles and parts. After September 11, 2001, however, his business dropped substantially.

“I realized all my customers were in the hotel and airport business and they all disappeared in one day,” he said. “I was getting married in two weeks. I needed to be able to pay the caterer, and I wasn’t selling any cars.”
A friend suggested that Hobsen try selling a car on eBay Motors. Hobsen listed a Honda City Turbo with six pictures and was surprised with the result.

“It sold right away for several thousand dollars more than I had expected,” he said.

Hobsen paid the caterer with his profits and decided to put a Ford Taurus up on the site, since he had no regular customers who would be interested in that type of vehicle. Again the vehicle sold quickly and brought a larger profit than Hobsen had anticipated.

“After that, I decided to list my entire inventory,” he said. “I didn’t have to buy inventory for a couple of months; and once I ran out, I bought more at a local auction.”

After he split with his previous business partner, Hobson started Karbucks with his friend Mark Emerson, who had worked in high-tech. Karbucks currently has four full-time employees and two part-time employees.

Karbucks now successfully sells full time on eBay Motors. Hobsen said his company rarely sells a car from a walk-in customer, and eBay has transformed the dealership’s ability to move product.

“We usually sell 20 per week and list between 22 and 23,” he said. “If I tried to do business as I did before, we’d sell eight cars per month at the most. With eBay, we sell 80 per month.”

He says the amount of inventory he is able to move allows his business to have a higher overall profitability.

“The profit per vehicle isn’t always that high, but the volume is high and that’s all that matters.”

Hobsen also finds eBay Motors is a model with which he is comfortable, because his buyers are serious and educated bidders. He has enjoyed making sales to Iceland, Greece, Paraguay, Brazil and every state in the United States. He’s even had the chance to meet many of those buyers in person when they pick up their cars.

“I had a father and son come here from Oregon to pick up their vehicle,” Hobsen said. “A lot of people buy on eBay Motors just to have a reason to drive across the country.”

For Hobsen, eBay Motors has given him a purpose to stay in business.

“Without eBay Motors, I’d have retired two years ago. Now I can’t even imagine doing ‘normal’ business again,” he said. “My sales on eBay Motors have bought me a new house in Naples and a new BMW and a Porsche. It’s enjoyable for me.”

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