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GM Investigates the Used Car Biz

Seeking to capitalize on a red-hot used vehicle market, General Motors has said it will launch an online service called CarBravo. Intended to challenge the likes of Carvana and CarMax by offering customers access to a large inventory of machines in stock at GM dealers across the country.

Using what marketers are calling a digital retail platform (read: Website), the shopping interface is said to feature clear dealer pricing and 360-degree views of the vehicle plus condition reports and the like. According to the company, all CarBravo vehicles will be inspected and reconditioned to meet standards set by GM. If this sounds a lot like the Certified Pre-Owned program, you’re not wrong. It’s worth noting customers can presently search nationwide for CPO vehicles, as well.

One of the differences? Those machines held by GM Financial, such as fresh off-lease machines which can command a decent dollar compared to their projected residuals, which would have been set two or three years ago before the current market conditions. Dealers who enroll themselves in the program can list other types of used vehicles from other brands, assuming they meet the CarBravo minimum recon standards. To be clear, the site will largely facilitate sales to dealers; don’t expect the front lawn of RenCen to be transformed into a used car lot.

“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. Importantly, the program features will also  be offered on non-GM used vehicles,” said Steve Carlisle, GM executive vice president and president of GM North America, “CarBravo is designed to provide customers the convenience to shop how they want, where they want – online, at the dealership or both.”

How – or even if – this will affect CPO activity is uncertain, since there’s nothing to say that CPO vehicles can’t be advertised on this CarBravo outlet. In theory, a CPO car should fit all the qualifications for sale with GM’s new website. The variable, as always, will be the dealers. Since it seems they’ll be able to set their own prices for listings, the success or failure of this product is not totally in control of the suits at RenCen. At least the CarBravo requirement of ’360-degree views’ should take care of a perpetual problem some dealers have with being able to upload sensible pictures of their stock. In theory, anyway. And if it adds a bit of market competition to companies like Carvana and Vroom, so much the better. GM also has its eyes on making money through adjacent revenue like OnStar and satellite radio.

We’ll take over/under estimates in the comments on how long this project will occupy the frontal cortex of GM before attention is turned to other matters. A launch for CarBravo is planned prior to this summer.

[Images: GM]

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