The last mile of buying a car usually involves heading to a dealership, and spending hours (I've never gotten out in under three) finalizing a deal.
Many consumers wish they didn't have to go to a brick and mortar car dealership to buy a car. Afterall, most have done their research, and made their decision long before they walk into a dealership.
As someone once told me "I don't want to be sold when I'm ready to buy."
Some online car purchasing agents have popped up, but none have been a runaway game changer to the industry.
Last year, GM used eBay to test drive an online buying program. The program lasted six-weeks, and used eBay to sell new vehicles through 225 California dealerships. Back in 2009 there were rumors that they might roll out a similar program nationally in 2010, but that has yet to materialize.
Now comes word that Kia Motors is launching a similar program on a national basis. Through eBay, Kia has launched an online, new-car shopping experience where people can research, find and purchase a new Kia from among its 345 dealers who can list their new-vehicle inventory at Kia.Ebay.com.
"What's new is that we are, hopefully, saving buyers and dealers lots of time. Right now, about 80% of car purchase transactions are initiated online." says Nicolas Franchet, senior director of U.S. vehicles for eBay Motors, "But traditionally you would go to dealerships and start negotiating on price. We believe more and more of the negotiating can be done online."
Unfortunately, reports are that buyers will still have to visit the dealership and conclude the deal in the finance and insurance office where additional products and services will be pushed on them.
Ah, back to that "last mile" of the purchase process.