The jury is still out on its effectiveness, but General Motors Co. is extending a program that lets consumers in California buy a new GM vehicle on the eBay Motors Web site.
The program was scheduled to end Tuesday, Sept. 8, but will run through September. It started Aug. 11.
In the first week, a modest 50 or so GM vehicles were listed on eBay as sold, according to an Automotive News analysis of completed auctions. About 16,000 vehicles were listed.
Automotive News also looked at the results of 3,000 GM vehicles with seven-day eBay auctions that ended Tuesday, Sept. 1, and none was listed as sold.
But a GM statement said the program is boosting awareness of GM vehicles. GM says about 4,000 eBay shoppers entered into negotiations -- online, over the phone or in person -- to buy a vehicle. The statement did not say how many sales resulted from the negotiations.
"We are very pleased with the progress of the initial promotion and its ability to raise awareness and consideration for our outstanding new-vehicle inventory," Mark LaNeve, GM's vice president of U.S. sales, said in the statement.
During a conference call with reporters last week, LaNeve said: "The numbers on eBay itself aren't significant, but we didn't think it would be."
He added: "The dealers want to continue it, and so we are working on making some tweaks to it and continue."
According to GM and eBay, online shoppers have logged more than 1.4 million searches of GM's California inventory of Chevrolet, Pontiac, Buick and GMC vehicles.
GM says 225 dealers in California list vehicles online. The company says it will evaluate the program after it ends and may start a national eBay-GM Web site.
(Source: Automotive News)