Make room, Carvana and CarMax. General Motors is diving deep into digital used-car retailing with an upcoming initiative called CarBravo.
It will offer used-vehicle shoppers access to a nationwide inventory and an omnichannel shopping experience on a new digital retail platform called DRP.
“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,” says Steve Carlisle, GM executive vice president and president of GM North America.
Inventory is not limited to GM vehicles. That’s important, he says, because GM dealers sell many other makes of pre-owned vehicles acquired as trade-ins.
The automaker currently is recruiting its Chevrolet, Buick and GMC dealers to participate. Cadillac will get a similar program of its own later.
The consumer launch is expected to begin as a rollout in the spring.
Asked at a media briefing how much CarMax and Carvana – national used-car chains that heavily rely on digital tools – inspired CarBravo, Carlisle (pictured, left) says: “They gave us an opportunity to learn a lot.”
The initiative aims to let customers shop how and where they want, “online, at the dealership or both,” Carlisle says.
GM says the new DRP will provide a simple and transparent shopping interface featuring clear dealer pricing, vehicle history reports and 360-degree imagery of the vehicles, which will be inspected and reconditioned when necessary.
“Used vehicles are a significant part of our business,” says Todd Ingersoll, dealer principal of Ingersoll Auto in Danbury, CT. His store participated in a CarBravo pilot.
At the media briefing, he says it behooves all 3,800 Chevrolet, Buick and GMC dealers to sign on.
“This allows us to unify,” Ingersoll says. He speaks of the powerful effect a national used-car inventory will have on search-engine optimization and marketing.
“Google will bubble up our inventory,” he says. “I can’t imagine any dealer not participating. This will increase business and keep people in our family.”
Dan Ahearn, manager of GM’s pre-owned operations – largely centered on off-lease vehicles – expects CarBravo will bring incremental growth. “Our dealers typically have 400,000 used cars on their lots,” says Ahearn, also CarBravo’s manager. “And then there’s what we have (in off-lease vehicles). It’s a huge selection to choose from.”
The program will offer standard warranty coverage on all vehicles, roadside service, courtesy transportation, and OnStar and SiriusXM trials on vehicles with such connectivity capabilities.
Steve Finlay is a retired WardsAuto senior editor. He can be reached at [email protected].