For some consumers, shopping for a used vehicle online can be a lot like dating online: The photos tend to showcase the positive and finding a perfect match is tough.
So to help shoppers find just what they want, a dealership group in central Indiana is touting its matchmaking abilities.
Hubler Automotive Group uses a humorous video that mimics an online dating service.
The Web video, which has generated more than 13,000 views since it was produced two years ago, shows a fictional customer talking lovingly about his "match" with a Chevrolet Malibu.
The man gently caresses the door handle, dances with the sedan's open door and even pours champagne while lying on its hood staring into its windshield.
"We're a bunch of humans working here and we have a lot of fun. We just wanted people to be able to see that," said Nicole Fort, the group's e-commerce director. "It was an in-house, grass-roots kind of thing."
The low-budget video was filmed on a weekend where the dealership photographs its used-car inventory for online presentations, Fort said.
Employees in the 10-store group, all of which are within 75 miles of Indianapolis, are allowed to sell vehicles on any of the group's used-car lots, explained Aaron Nicely, Hubler's director of digital communications.
Hubler's stores sell an average of about 350 new and 550 used vehicles each month. In the last year, nearly 700 customers have used the matchmaker service to buy a used car, Nicely said.
Hubler also asks customers to fill out an online questionnaire to describe their perfect match, including year, make and model. The questionnaire is similar to those found on automotive sites such as Cars.com and AutoTrader.com.
The questionnaire sets up an automatic inventory alert that will send an e-mail to the consumer if any of Hubler's stores receives a matching vehicle, Nicely said.
"If we don't have anything that matches specifically what they're looking for, then we'll go out to the auctions to look for that specific vehicle," Nicely said.
With a solid lead in hand, the group's auction buyer can be more confident that a matching car bought at an auction is likely to sell and, therefore, might be able to pay a little more and outbid competitors.
Nicely said that a customer at the group's Nissan store, for example, had been searching for a specific used Volkswagen. "The only place they could find one was down in Florida, so we arranged to go down to Florida to pick up that car."
He said, "Customers are very excited when they've got somebody willing to go the extra mile for them."