IMotors.com, a San Francisco Internet company that finds buyers for used vehicles, operates in 17 states. After a customer specifies a vehicle, iMotors finds the vehicle, buys and refurbishes it, and ships it to the customer — usually at a cost below Kelley Blue Book value. Newly hired CEO Lloyd Ward, former CEO of Maytag Corp., and president and founder Adam Simms talked with Staff Reporter Arlena Sawyers.
Ward: We're not for everybody. We provide vehicles to people who can wait for their product. If you want your vehicle today or tomorrow, your local dealer is your best option. But if you want a high-quality vehicle and a trusted, friendly shopping and ownership experience, and a 14- to 21-day wait time is acceptable, that is the iMotors solution.
How will the softening new-car market affect you?
Ward: The consensus is that as the overall market softens, value becomes more important to consumers and price becomes a consideration. If a used car is high quality and provides an ownership experience that is in any way comparable to a new car — and that is what we want to do — it is our expectation that we will be a meaningful alternative. There is some evidence that used cars do pretty good (during an economic downturn). If that holds true, we would certainly like to take advantage of that.
Have plunging residual values affected iMotors?
Simms: What leasing has done for us is ensure a long-term supply of late model, high-quality used cars for us to deliver to our customers. Clearly, leasing is a big part of the industry. It impacts the supply side significantly, but where residuals are set has no impact on iMotors.