Want to test drive a new model but don't want to go to a dealership? Grant Feek can make it happen -- for a price.
Feek, 32, is the head of Tred, which delivers vehicles to the shopper's home. So far about 40 stores representing 14 brands in the Seattle area have signed on.
They pay a subscription fee to Tred. Pilot phases took place in May and October, and the enterprise launched last week.
A shopper pays $19 for the 15-mile test drive. Tred Auto Experts ride along to answer questions about the car. They also provide information about the sales process to shoppers, who later receive a price report comparing the Tred dealer's price to prices from third-party sources such as Edmunds and TrueCar.com.
Former General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner is among the investors who delivered $1.7 million in seed money to Tred.
Feek, a Harvard MBA who worked as a porter in a BMW dealership in Seattle during high school, said not all dealers he approached fell in love with the idea: "There's a natural skepticism around transparency, the Internet and all these things, but I think there's a larger acknowledgment that business is evolving and customers are changing."