GM dealers in California to sell cars on eBay

The automaker and the online auction house announce a trial program to give customers the option to haggle with dealers over the Internet.

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- More than 225 General Motors dealers in California will sell vehicles through the eBay online auction site in a four-week trial, the companies announced Monday.

Under the program, which begins Tuesday, consumers will be able to bargain with the dealers for Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Pontiac cars and trucks from model years 2008, 2009 and 2010. The program ends Sept. 8.

The new car shopping Web site, gm.ebay.com, will feature a "wide selection" of up to 20,000 new GM vehicles at "competitive prices," the companies said in a press release.

Customers will be able to buy cars outright at the advertised price using the Web site's "Buy It Now" option. Alternatively, customers can suggest a price under the "Best Offer" option, which may then be negotiated with the dealer.

"Together with eBay Motors, GM and our dealers are reinventing the car-buying experience for our California customers," said Mark LaNeve, GM vice president of U.S. sales, in a statement.

GM emerged from bankruptcy protection on July 10, concluding a 40-day stay in Chapter 11 with the sale of its key operations to a new company majority-owned by the U.S. Treasury. The company pledged to win back American consumers and taxpayers.

The automaker has sold certain new and certified-used GM models on eBay Motors in the past. But the scale of the new program marks a significant shift for the online auction house, which is traditionally focused on used cars and auto parts.

"Through this program, we are helping GM dealers to extend their physical showroom while at the same time delivering to our buyers the great deals and broad selection they expect from eBay (EBAY, Fortune 500)," said Rob Chesney, vice president of eBay Motors, in a statement.

As part of its restructuring, GM shut hundreds of under-performing dealerships across the country. But the new program has been hailed by at least one of GM's California dealers.

Ted Nicholas, president and chief executive of a Chevrolet dealership in Bakersfield, said in a statement that he is "very excited" to participate in the new program.

"We've found that serious shoppers want it to be easy, and have shifted from the traditional forms of researching and purchasing vehicles to getting it all done on the Internet," said Nicholas. To top of page

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