The Associated Press reports that “GM CEO Fritz Henderson said the company is working on an "innovative new partnership" with eBay Inc. to let consumers in California bid on vehicles as they would in a normal eBay auction or choose a 'Buy it Now' option to purchase the car at a set price. Dealers would still distribute the cars."
The deal has not been finalised, but does the Ebay model suit new car sales? Whilst mainstream brands could be attracted by the sheer volume of users, the ‘discount’ brand connotations that Ebay is sometimes associated with would seem to rule out the prestige brands from taking part.
How the deal will be facilitated is still to be decided, but the current distribution network of car dealers would be severely compromised if they were not to profit from being in the loop. Traditional fleet sales operate by the dealer acting as a facilitator of the transaction, rather than being the seller, and dealers have long complained of dwindling margins on this type of business.
The deal is solely US based at the moment, but GM Europe executives will surely be keeping an eye on developments.