World Omni Financial Corp., the financial-services arm of JM Family Enterprises Inc., is preparing to venture into third-party used-vehicle inspections for consumers and auto dealers through its Datascan Field Services division.
The venture, called InspectMyRide, is intended to support the growing volume of long-distance used-vehicle sales made possible by Internet auto inventories, says Brent Sergot, Datascan general manager for third party business.
"We are creating an independent third-party resource for people who want to buy a vehicle that they can't see and touch," Sergot says. "This will add an extra level of confidence to a transaction between two people who don't know each other."
Consumers who use InspectMyRide will get a condition report on a specific vehicle that includes a grade of 0 to 100 and an appraisal based on a five-star rating.
The business has been in a pilot test on eBay.com since October, he says.
Datascan employs a field staff of about 700 people around the country performing floor-plan audits and off-lease vehicle inspections for automakers. Using the same staff, the operation now will conduct standardized 150-point inspections on specific vehicles and provide interested buyers with the condition report by e-mail within 48 hours, Sergot says.
Through the new venture, which Sergot expects to roll out in 60 to 90 days, a consumer in New York could pay InspectMyRide's $129 fee and obtain an inspection report on a used vehicle being sold by an auto dealer in Arkansas.
For an added fee, InspectMyRide will include a short-term warranty, he says.
During the eBay pilot program, Datascan was surprised by the level of interest from auto dealers, Sergot says.
Retailers themselves now commonly buy used vehicles from around the country through Internet listings by far-away sellers.
While the venture's primary target will be independent consumers, Sergot says he has tailored the program to include more dealer-friendly features, such as creating ongoing accounts for repeat customers.