MARK RECHTIN

eBay's app puts your car in a 'garage'

Mark Rechtin is West Coast editor of Automotive NewsMark Rechtin is West Coast editor of Automotive News
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Want to keep track of available spare parts for your car, but hate to keep checking the Internet to see if the parts are in stock?

A new mobile app from eBay Motors takes care of that chore for you. The app should launch by the end of March.

Using technology from RedLaser, your smart phone reads your car's VIN number, which eBay Motors then uses to catalog your vehicle's specifications down to the studs. Your car is then placed in the app's "garage," which constantly updates the list of parts that exactly fit your car that are available for auction or "buy now" on eBay Motors.

If you have a rare model like a Porsche 911 GT3 or a vintage Lancia, this can save lots of looking-around time.

Also, eBay is looking to add functionality to the app as it evolves.

In the future, eBay wants the app to be plugged in to manufacturers' Web sites, so if your vehicle has a recall, you get a notification through the app. No need anymore to wait for the letter in the mail.

As a crowning touch, eBay wants to customize the app so that, if you live in a part of the country where changing seasons are an issue, the app will restock your listings with essential parts, such as tire chains, when winter comes.

The app should help eBay Motors' mobile division -- which did $180 million in gross merchandise volume or GMV business last year, $61 million in parts alone -- propel sales that much further with those impulse buys. You know, the ones that appear only because you checked your "garage" while stuck in a meeting, and discovered those gotta-have wheel spacers for your Porsche.

You can reach Mark Rechtin at mrechtin@crain.com. -- Follow Mark on Twitter

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