Changes are in store at two of the most-visited automotive Web sites.
EBay Inc. is considering posting fixed prices for some vehicles - a departure from its popular auction format. And Edmunds.com is about to unveil an online tool that will give consumers ammunition to dicker with dealers over finance rates.
Simon Rothman, eBay Motors' general manager, said no decision has been made on a timetable or what new pricing format might be available.
EBay Motors, which deals strictly with used vehicles, was launched last April.
Rothman said the site can work just as well for dealers as it does for consumers.
'EBay Motors is a marketplace like any other marketplace,' he said. 'It's agnostic. It's there to provide efficiency.'
Ebay Inc. of San Jose, Calif., had more than 22 million Web site users and sales of $431.4 million last year. Rothman would not break down figures for eBay Motors.
Edmunds.com, an automotive information site with about 1.4 million visitors monthly, will introduce TMV Finance Rate Estimator on March 15. It is designed to give consumers a personalized finance rate based on the credit risk and local finance rates.
'Many people don't know that you can bargain on the interest rate at the dealership,' said Jeremy Anwyl, Edmunds.com's president.
Here's how it will work: A consumer submits a ZIP code and answers 13 questions. The consumer is provided interest rates for a variety of loan terms that he or she can then take to the dealership.
The credit analyzer is based on Fair, Isaac and Co. credit risk scores used by financial institutions nationwide, Anwyl said.
In another development, Edmunds.com has entered into a partnership with Morpace International Inc., an automotive market research company in Farmington Hills, Mich.
The companies will launch Edmunds Drivers' Opinion Panel, an online research site accessed via links from Edmunds.com.
Morpace will create and operate the Web link.
Visitors to Edmunds.com will be able to participate in automotive research at the site. Market research also will be reported. The site will go live this month.