Autobytel.com announced that it is offering a new-car buying program that doesn't require consumers to be involved with dealers. As part of this, the Irvine, Calif., online buying service will pilot a program to offer consumers test drives through Enterprise Rent-A-Car.
Autobytel.com will show online an inventory of about 11,000 new cars with their prices from its 3,200 dealer-subscribers, said Ann Delligatta, COO. The inventory will be updated each night.
Consumers will shop through the inventory and select a vehicle. The service, which is called AutobytelDIRECT, will handle all of the details, including the financing and the trade-in, of the transaction. For example, the consumer can look at every blue Toyota Camry with specific equipment and compare prices.
The consumer will be offered multiple trade-in options: selling the vehicle to an Autobytel.com dealer as part of the new-car purchase; posting the vehicle on Autobytel.com's auction site; or listing it in the Autobytel.com classified ads.
The new vehicle then is delivered to the buyer's home. Autobytel.com dealers are required to deliver for free within 50 miles. The dealer from whom the car buyer purchases the vehicle is revealed after the sale is completed so the buyer can use that dealer for service. Beyond that distance, delivery will be arranged through movecars.com.
The 'out-of-dealer experience' is exactly what some car buyers want, while other buyers want to build a relationship with the dealer beginning with the sales experience, said Mark Lorimer, Autobytel.com president. Autobytel.com also offers car buyers the opportunity to buy through an online auction and has tested the Price line.com model of having the consumer give a price quote for a vehicle.
Meantime, AutoDIRECT has arranged a program with Enterprise in major cities to provide consumers with weekend test drives.