About six months ago, Green Auto Group in Cottonwood, Ariz., became one of about 100 dealerships and dealership groups to participate in a pilot conducted by eBay Inc.
The group's Internet manager, Junior Queen, likes the program because it offers new national subscriptions at monthly discounts when he lists vehicles for sale on the site. It also enables him to contact losing bidders for his cars and trucks, a new feature that increases sales.
"I might be able to convert five or six people off of one national ad if I find out what their needs are," says Queen, who lists 300-plus vehicles on eBay at a given time.
Last week the consumer Web site began offering all dealers three- and 12-month subscriptions ranging from five to 100 listings a month at discounted prices depending on the subscription length and number of listings.
Bryan Murphy, general manager of eBay Motors, eBay's automotive division, says the program is a response to dealers who asked for more information and volume discounts.
"Instead of listing vehicles one at a time, subscriptions give them a program where they can list a portfolio of vehicles consistently, week in and week out, with discounts," Murphy says.
For instance, dealers can buy a 12-month, 50-listing subscription for $2,000 per month, a 20 percent savings over the $50 per vehicle listing fee the site typically charges.
Previously, eBay's price for basic no-frills listings was the same for all sellers regardless of volume.
Now if dealers list as few as five vehicles a month under a subscription they'll get a discount.
In addition, consultants will call the participating dealers to provide such information as number of page views, number of unique contacts and vehicle sales numbers.
They will also help dealers become better sellers on eBay by offering insights into why certain vehicle listings aren't attracting much traffic, Murphy says.
"These consultants know exactly what makes a great listing sell and what makes a poor listing not sell," Murphy says.
More than 50,000 franchised and independent used-vehicle dealers list vehicles for sale on eBay, the company says, while the site attracted 120 million active users worldwide in the second quarter and on average records the sale of one passenger vehicle every two minutes.