Walmart To Launch Car-Buying Business
【Summary】Walmart is partnering with major dealership groups to put forward the vehicle-selling business. The business will be carried out on April 1st at 25 Walmart Supercenters in Houston, Dallas, Phoenix and Oklahoma.
After Amazon the biggest e-commerce giant begins selling cars online, Walmart as the largest retailer in the United States is entering the market as well. It is partnering with major dealership groups such as AutoNation Inc and financial/insurance companies to put forward the vehicle-selling business.
The business will be carried out in an online forum called CarSaver, on April 1st at 25 Walmart Supercenters in Houston, Dallas, Phoenix and Oklahoma. On the digital platform, customers can browse the website, select a car model, apply for financing and auto insurance either through a mobile device or a store kiosk. Then CarSaver will connect the buyer with a local dealer to set up an appointment. Once a successful transaction is made, a dealer will pay a $350 service fee to CarSaver.
This is not the first step that Walmart touches upon car selling business. A trial program was launched in April last year, leading to 80% of successful sale out of the total appointments made. And on average, customers saved more than $3000 off the labelled price. The success has definitely given Walmart confidence to carry out the business in a larger scale.
For the time being, the retailer giant doesn't give much comment on the car-selling program, as it hasn't rolled-out nationwide.
"It is not uncommon for us to test different customer offerings in our stores using our leased spaces. We currently have a 1-store pilot underway with CarSaver in Stuart, Fla., and are still evaluating customer response."Molly Blakeman, Walmart spokeswoman told Automotive News.
However, its partners do anticipate a prosperous future toward the business.
"We're all collectively trying to find a better customer experience. CarSaver is really taking a lead in trying to create that through the buying program to try to provide comfort, transparency, fairness to the consumer. With the reach that Wal-Mart has, this could be a very large-scale buying program, and I think dealers are going to want to participate in it." Tim Rucci, Ally Financial's President of Auto Finance told Automotive News. The company has participated in the program as a preferred lender.
Also CarSaver, Walmart's cooperating partner hopes the program can expand nationwide in two years if success continues, to connect with over 10,000 certified dealership partners in the US. The digital forum was founded in 2012 in Miami Florida, with the goal of providing "no haggle, upfront" savings for car buyers.
Currently there are 3500 Walmart Supercenters across the country, and around 140 million of shoppers will visit Walmart stores each week. Although the program hasn't fully been launched, and there's no guarantee that the car-selling service will turn out to be truly a bargain for customers, people will definitely see a new option when they shop for cars.
Claire Peng has over 6 years of professional experience in the media industry, covering TV, newspaper and online media. She was once a reporter and producer for Fairchild Television based in Toronto Canada, and worked as an English news reporter for the Global Times in Beijing. She writes mainly about self-driving, companies investment, and the enterprise lab.
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