GM launches massive used car website CarBravo, hopes to take on Carvana
Car consumers looking to buy will soon have access to hundreds of thousands of used vehicles on a new digital retail platform from General Motors.
GM recently introduced CarBravo, a website that will list all the used car inventory across GM's participating dealerships as well as used cars owned by GM and its finance arm, GM Financial.
There are 400,000 used vehicles in dealer inventory on an ongoing basis, company officials said. Dealers sell about 2.5 million used cars a year. GM and GM Financial have an additional 500,000 used cars in stock each year.
"CarBravo will give customers more choice and access to shop significantly expanded inventories of both the dealer and a national central stock of GM used vehicles," said Steve Carlisle, GM executive vice president and president of GM North America. "Importantly, the program features will also be offered on non-GM used vehicles."
GM will be enrolling its 3,800 U.S. dealers in CarBravo over the next couple of months, then launch it to consumers this spring in a regional rollout.
Consumers can order a car online from participating GM dealerships or find a nearby GM dealership to shop in person. GM expects most of its 3,800 dealers will participate.
Currently, CarMax and Carvana are the giant used car retailers. But CarBravo sets itself apart by offering used car shoppers a range of benefits, Carlisle said.
Customers will have the opportunity to choose from more used car dealership locations than CarMax offers, he said. Carvana did not immediately respond with a comment.
But CarMax said it is the nation's largest buyer and seller of used cars with full online service or 220 stores customers can shop in. CarMax said it also has the nation's largest inventory of used cars across nearly every make and model.
"While we are still learning about the newly announced service from GM, what they have set out to do is difficult," said Jim Lyski, CarMax executive vice president and chief marketing officer leading strategy, product and marketing. "They will need to build out capabilities to deliver the seamless online to in-store experience customers demand, and do that across all their dealers. As we've seen at CarMax, it will be rewarding if they accomplish it."
Lyski said he is confident that CarMax will lead the industry throughby continued innovation.
CarBravo will provide customers with:
—A standard warranty coverage of six months or 6,000 miles on most vehicles
—Clear dealer pricing and 360-degree virtual views of the vehicle
—Vehicle history reports
—All cars will be inspected and reconditioned to meet standards set by GM
—Guaranteed online offers to buy customer vehicles even if they do not purchase a vehicle through CarBravo
—Access to GM's nationwide network of dealerships for service and maintenance.
—Roadside service, courtesy transportation, OnStar and SiriusXM trials on eligible vehicles.
Customers can also do at-home test drives and home deliveries, where available at participating dealers.
GM worked with dealers to build CarBravo over the past 18 months, said Todd Ingersoll, dealer principal of Ingersoll Auto in Danbury, Conn., whose dealership participated in the CarBravo pilot.
"We worked together on the CarBravo suite of benefits, the customer experience and dealer process," Ingersoll said. "The most successful new car dealers have good used car operations."
Ingersoll said about 10% of car buyers shop online. Some consumers will ask for a dealership to deliver the vehicle to them, others want to take delivery of the car at a dealership.
"(CarBravo) gives the customer the choice as to how they'd like to get it done," Ingersoll said.
GM created CarBravo because nearly 70% of vehicles sold today are used, Carlisle said. He said for the last five years the used car market has been growing and it's less susceptible to market shocks than the new car market.
"We know that used cars are incredibly important to bringing customers into our brands," Carlisle said during a media briefing. "To continue to build loyalty and business opportunities for us and our dealers, CarBravo is a whole new portal to reach new customers."
Carlisle said GM sees possible adjacent revenue opportunity in OnStar enrollments and customers using dealers for service.
"All the revenue that we get on a new car post-sale, we're expecting to get that revenue through the used cars," Carlisle said. "The GM part of the inventory that dealers will have access to, customers will have so-called GM units ... off-lease vehicles ... gives us the opportunity to improve residual values, which has a straight to the bottom line impact."
But Carlisle said GM will eventually use the platform to offer new cars and electric vehicles.
"We're rolling out the digital retail platform starting with our EV programs as they roll out, so they'll all operate on top of that DRP platform, what we're talking about today is extending the use of that platform to CarBravo, to used cars," Carlisle said.