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General Motors enters the used car game with CarBravo

General Motors on Wednesday announced an online used-car sales platform called CarBravo. Scheduled to launch this spring, GM says it will offer a transparent and streamlined buying experience.

CarBravo will pull from dealership inventories and a “national central stock” of used vehicles that will include non-GM models, according to a company press release. All vehicles will be “inspected and reconditioned to meet standards set by GM,” according to the automaker, and will get some form of warranty coverage. SiriusXM satellite radio and OnStar telematics trials will also be available in applicable vehicles.

Customers will be able to access 360-degree views and vehicle history reports through a dedicated website and receive price quotes from dealerships (and GM financing, where applicable), who will still handle the actual sales and servicing of cars sold through CarBravo.

CarBravo will also offer at-home test drives and home delivery in areas with participating dealerships. Customers will also be able to sell their own cars through the platform, receiving guaranteed online offers based on the auto-industry Black Blook, even if they don’t buy a car through CarBravo, GM said.

While most automakers operate so-called certified pre-owned (CPO) programs for used cars, this is the first major attempt by an automaker to sell used cars through a corporate channel. GM’s involvement of dealerships in sales and servicing is likely essential to avoid running afoul of state franchise laws, as Tesla has done with its direct-sales business model.

Supply-chain issues caused the supply of new cars to tighten in 2021, leading to skyrocketing used-car prices. That might explain why GM is taking this unusual step, and it’s worth noting that much of the groundwork for CarBravo was laid by the Shop Click Drive service GM began offering in 2020 in response to the pandemic.

GM has experimented with several other new businesses in recent years, most bundled into the now-defunct Maven mobility brand. Maven offered carsharing services in some cities, so-called peer-to-peer carsharing that allowed GM owners to rent out their cars to other people, as well as low-cost rentals to rideshare drivers, but was shut down in 2020 after several cutbacks. Will CarBravo be more successful?

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