Wyler Automotive Completes First U.S. Virtual Car Sale

The Amazon-style transaction is “groundbreaking,” says e-commerce director.

Nancy Dunham, Principal Analyst/Retail

April 8, 2024

3 Min Read
Jeff Wyler Automotive Family Group has 23 rooftops in three states.Getty Images

You might call Kevin Frye a true believer in 100% remote selling of cars.

When he was hired by Jeff Wyler Automotive Family as e-commerce director about 20 years ago, people were puzzled by the title and his presumptive duties.

“I got a lot of ribbing from people outside of automotive,” he tells WardsAuto. “They said, ‘You’re not really an e-commerce director. And my answer was always, ‘We are forward- thinking. The day is going to come when we’ll do our transactions live.”

That day just arrived. Wyler, which has 23 rooftops in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, is the first U.S. dealer to sell a car through a 100% virtual transaction, according to Frye and Cox Automotive.

Although other dealers contend they have completed deals online, Frye says that at some point, those buyers had to interact with a call center or a dealership representative who approved or rejected the deal.

“(The virtual) deal was closed at 11:15 at night completely by the shopper while the banks were closed, while our dealerships were closed,” says Frye. “They can completely complete the entire transaction online without any human intervention. That is what is so groundbreaking about this. This is the first time this has been done in automotive in the United States.”

Wyler credits Cox Automotive’s e-commerce capability, which guides consumers through the online car- buying process. Frye says it’s fast and seamless. AI-powered shopping features and patent-pending finance automation enable buyers to see pre-qualified payments on every vehicle in inventory and shop by make, model, price, and monthly budget.

“I want to emphasize that the other online providers out there have done a great job making consumers feel they have bought cars 100% online,” says Frye. “The difference, and the analogy I make, is that if you were to go on Amazon and clicked (buy) and instead of a confirmation, you (received a message) that said, ‘Stand by for 24 to 48 hours,’ you’d be disappointed. (Our virtual sale) is the first time this has been done in automotive in the U.S.”

Wyler launched the online option on March 1 with plenty of branding and marketing, says Frye. The virtual sale of the ’23 Dodge Charger was on March 6.

Dealers interested in the Cox Automotive technology available for such sales will find it outlined below:

  • MagiQual calculations: This is a patent-pending technology that assists with qualifying consumers for financing that do not require hard credit inquiries.

  • Finance Automation: Using AI to intelligently route the consumers' credit applications to the right lenders, receive lender responses and select the best lender to finance the deal with. Saves dealer staff about 30 minutes of labor. 

  • Automated Personalized Aftermarket recommendations.

  • Contract Automation: Automates the creation of Lender, Dealer and Aftermarket product forms and the collection of lender stipulations, saving 60 minutes of time and reducing errors. 

  • Automated Compliance and Fraud Prevention/Detection: Applies state-of-the-art ID verification and validation technology and insurance verification technology to give shoppers and dealers more confidence and trust in the transaction. It also reduces manual steps to ensure compliance. 

  • Integrations: DMS, CRM, Near-Real Time Inventory, Dealer.com and, coming soon, Consumer Moves (Ready Logistics) for real-time shipping quoting.


About the Author(s)

Nancy Dunham

Principal Analyst/Retail, WardsAuto

Nancy Dunham became an auto journalist more than twenty years ago. She has worked as an editor and writer for the National Automobile Dealers Association, US News & World Report, CarFax, and various newspapers in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. Her work also appears in Costco Connections, AARP, the New York Times, Rolling Stone and other publications.

Before specializing in automotive retail journalism, she was a newspaper reporter, magazine editor and publisher.

She lives in Tucson, Arizona, with her three beloved cats.

Contact her at [email protected] or https://www.linkedin.com/in/nancydwrites/.

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