The dealerless used car dealer: Carvana
Cost: Free to use, but Carvana takes a percentage of each sale.
Though buying cars strictly via the Web without a traditional bricks-and-mortar dealer has been long talked about, Carvana is betting the concept is ripe for an upgrade. The online preowned-vehicle service uses a mix of immersive photography, custom search features and home delivery to offer a surprisingly deep inventory of pre-owned vehicles without the hassle and expense of dealing with a traditional used car dealer.
"What we try to do is do away with what we estimate is the $2,000 per vehicle cost of selling a car in a bricks-and-mortar retailer." says Carvana's Garcia, "Our per-vehicle cost is closer to $500, and we pass that saving to customers."Carvana is far from the only direct over-the-Web auto play. General Motors (GM) has been flirting with its Shop-Click-Drive Web initiative, and there are plenty of used car deals from Craigslist to Carmax (KMX). But Carvana's compelling shopping experience makes me think the bar is about to be raised for selling vehicles online. Auto selling on the Web might just be a hot topic this year.