eBay, GM Extend New Car Program

    September 1, 2009

An experimental promotion eBay and General Motors started to sell new cars in California has apparently gone rather well.  The companies checked in today with some statistics, news of an extension, and word that they might take the program national.

gm.ebay.com launched on August 11th with the idea of getting eBay users to buy cars online.  This afternoon’s press release stated, "Since the beginning of the program through August 30 . . . nearly 4,000 new car buyers entered into negotiations online, over the phone and in person as a result of this promotion."

So eBay and GM are going to see what sort of things they can achieve by keeping the "Click and Buy" program running through September 30th, instead of September 8th as originally scheduled.

Then here’s the really interesting part: "At the conclusion of the California promotion, GM and eBay Motors will evaluate extending the program nationally, based on consumer demand and dealer feedback."

It still seems doubtful that lots of people are committing $20,000 or more on the basis of pictures on their computer screens.  But if the "Click and Buy" promotion can catch consumers’ eyes (see the "over the phone and in person" inclusion), there’s no reason to believe it won’t prove to be an effective form of advertising.