ATLANTA — Asbury Automotive Group Inc. is trying a low-cost approach to selling vehicles online. It has worked so well in the venture’s early months that executives are spreading it to more stores.
In March, Asbury, the nation’s seventh-largest dealership group, began experimenting with online selling software supplied by San Francisco startup Drive Motors. As of early August, the software was being used in six dealerships: two luxury-brand stores, two import-brand stores and two domestic-brand stores. Asbury plans to add it at another eight to 10 stores in its 82-dealership network by the end of the summer.
Asbury declined to share how many transactions it is completing with the help of the software. But the initial expectations were that the participating stores would get a lot of visits to the software application but that a lot of visitors wouldn’t transact, and the results are surpassing those expectations, Asbury COO David Hult said.
“We’ve been amazingly surprised,” Hult said. “It’s pretty rare when we have a day where we don’t do several transactions on this software.”
Hult said Asbury had no startup costs for the venture and pays just a nominal monthly fee to the software provider. Drive Motors CEO Aaron Krane told Automotive News that the company charges a fee of $695 per month per dealership regardless of store size or number of transactions.