The Day – GM launches huge used car website CarBravo, hopes to take on Carvana
Car consumers looking to buy will soon have access to hundreds of thousands of used vehicles on a new digital retail platform from General Motors.
GM recently launched CarBravo, a website that lists all used car inventory from participating GM dealerships as well as used cars owned by GM and its financial arm, GM Financial.
There are 400,000 used vehicles in dealer inventory on an ongoing basis, company officials said. Dealerships sell around 2.5 million used cars per year. GM and GM Financial have an additional 500,000 used cars in stock every year.
“CarBravo will provide customers with more choice and access to significantly expanded inventories from both the dealership and a nationwide central stock of GM used vehicles,” said Steve Carlisle, GM executive vice president and president of GM North America. “It’s important to note that the features of the program will also be offered on non-GM used vehicles.”
GM will enroll its 3,800 U.S. dealerships in CarBravo over the next two months, then launch it to consumers this spring as part of a regional rollout.
Consumers can order a car online from participating GM dealerships or find a nearby GM dealership to shop in person. GM expects most of its 3,800 dealerships to participate.
Currently, CarMax and Carvana are the giant used car retailers. But CarBravo sets itself apart by offering used car buyers a range of benefits, Carlisle said.
Customers will have the option to choose from more used car dealerships than CarMax offers, he said. Carvana did not immediately respond with a comment.
But CarMax said it was the nation’s largest used car buyer and seller with a full online service or 220 stores where customers can shop. CarMax said it also has the nation’s largest inventory of used cars in nearly every make and model.
“While we still know about GM’s recently announced service, what they’ve set out to do is difficult,” said Jim Lyski, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of CarMax, responsible for strategy, products and marketing. “They will need to develop capabilities to deliver the seamless online to in-store experience that customers demand, and to do so across all of their dealerships. As we have seen at CarMax, it will be rewarding if they achieve this. .”
Lyski said he is confident CarMax will lead the industry through continued innovation.
CarBravo will provide customers with:
—A standard warranty coverage of six months or 6,000 miles on most vehicles
—Clear dealer pricing and 360-degree virtual vehicle views
—Vehicle History Reports
—All cars will be inspected and reconditioned to meet the standards set by GM
—Guaranteed online offers to purchase vehicles for customers even if they do not purchase a vehicle through CarBravo
—Access to GM’s national dealer network for service and maintenance.
—Roadside Assistance, Courtesy Transportation, OnStar and SiriusXM Test Drives on eligible vehicles.
Customers can also take home test drives and home deliveries, where available at participating dealerships.
GM has worked with dealers to build CarBravo for the past 18 months, said Todd Ingersoll, Ingersoll Auto’s master dealer in Danbury, Conn., whose dealership participated in the CarBravo pilot project.
“We worked together on the CarBravo benefits suite, customer experience and dealer process,” Ingersoll said. “The most successful new car dealerships have good used car operations.”
Ingersoll said about 10% of car shoppers shop online. Some consumers will ask a dealership to deliver the vehicle to them, others will want to pick up the car from a dealership.
“(CarBravo) gives the customer the choice of how they want to do it,” Ingersoll said.
GM created CarBravo because nearly 70 percent of vehicles sold today are used, Carlisle said. He said that over the past five years, the used car market has been growing and less susceptible to market shocks than the new car market.
“We know used cars are extremely important in bringing customers to our brands,” Carlisle said at a press conference. “To continue to build loyalty and expand business opportunities for us and our dealers, CarBravo is a whole new portal to reach new customers.”
Carlisle said GM sees a possible adjacent revenue opportunity in OnStar registrations and customers using dealerships for service.
“Any revenue that we get on a new car after it’s sold, we expect to get that revenue from used cars,” Carlisle said. “The GM part of the inventory that dealers will have access to, customers will have so-called GM units…non-lease vehicles…gives us the opportunity to improve residual values, which has a direct impact on the net profit .”
But Carlisle said GM will eventually use the platform to offer new cars and electric vehicles.
“We’re rolling out the digital retail platform starting with our electric vehicle programs as they roll out, so they’re all running on top of that DRP platform, which is what we’re talking about today. ‘Today is to extend the use of this platform to CarBravo, to used cars,’ said Carlisle.