Driveitaway.com Launches Dealer-to-Consumer Used Car Auctions on Web
31 October 2000Driveitaway.com Launches Dealer-to-Consumer Used Car Auctions on Web
Site Combines Security, Service of Established Dealers With Internet's Low Prices and Convenience PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 31 Pssssst . . . ever hear about those used car auctions open only to dealers where they go to snag great deals on sweet, late-model cars? Well, now, with the launch of Driveitaway.com, two Philadelphia-based businesswomen are letting everyone in on the opportunity -- and it's all from the convenience of your home, office or virtually anywhere. Driveitaway.com (http://www.driveitaway.com) is the brainchild of Darryl Draper, who made a name for herself as one of the country's most successful female auto sales managers, and Stacy Ratner, an attorney and award-winning Web designer. The women aim to open the used car auto auction to consumers, beginning in the Philadelphia area and eventually expanding nationwide. Their concept is simple: rework the used-car market by letting local dealers and corporate fleet managers post their inventory of late model vehicles on Driveitaway.com's online auto auction. Consumers can go to the site and preview scores of these vehicles, all available locally at some of the largest dealerships in the area, by make, model, location and mileage. They then choose the car they like and bid online. The auctions run three to seven days from the date the car is posted. During that time, bidders are encouraged to visit participating dealerships for an inspection or a test drive. "Traditionally, many of these vehicles would be sold at auction-closed to the public," says Darryl Draper, CEO and co-founder of Driveitaway.com. "Dealers would rather have them sold off their lot, but when they can't, the cars go directly to a wholesale auction and the public never has the opportunity to bid on them. We have created an online used car auction that serves both the consumer and the dealer. Used cars aren't like CDs. Consumers simply do not want to purchase a used car sight-unseen off the Internet. There are too many unknowns, and every used car is unique in terms of wear and tear." The alternative is Driveitaway.com, the first site to focus on dealer-to-consumer used car auto auctions via the Web. Consumers can now bid at prices closer to the wholesale auction price, and they gain peace of mind from buying the vehicle from a local, respected dealership. Additionally, they get the chance to bid directly on prime off-lease vehicles for the first time in automotive history. "For men and women alike, buying a car is sometimes a little daunting. The Internet breaks down a lot of barriers traditional car shopping presents," says Stacy Ratner, President and co-founder of Driveitaway.com. "Our goal is to make Driveitaway.com the easiest, most buyer-driven way yet for consumers to purchase a used car. The site puts the convenience of the Web together with the comfort and legal protections of the dealership and the excitement of an auction. It's really the best of both systems for everyone involved." For dealers, the Driveitaway.com model is a boon. No longer do they have to shuttle unsold used car inventory out to rural, faraway auto auctions that sell and resell late model, often just-off-lease vehicles. At the same time, consumers who find their vehicles online with Driveitaway.com still stop in at the dealership to inspect and test-drive the car. This builds foot traffic-one key to a successful auto dealership. Already, two of the area's largest dealerships have signed on to Driveitaway.com. Pacifico Dealer Group, based in the Philadelphia Auto Mall, and Holman Enterprises, in South Jersey, see the site as a way to streamline the used vehicles sales process while building a used car customer base that increases sales for the dealership. "We see Driveitaway.com as an important new way to buy and sell quality used vehicles as well as build new relationships with customers," says Joe David Pacifico, Vice President of Pacifico Dealer Group. In fact, Pacifico and Holman are so excited about the concept that they are adding Internet-enabled kiosks to their showrooms so customers can bid on Driveitaway.com vehicles right from the showroom floor. "Besides the benefit to us of meeting new customers, this is a true win-win for the consumer because our inventory is refreshed faster and, in the end, our prices are lower," adds Pacifico. Automotive Resources International (ARI), one of the largest fleet management companies in the world with 40,000 cars coming off lease each year, is another booster of the company. They plan to supply local off-lease vehicles, housed at local dealer lots and auctioned on Driveitaway.com. "Driveitaway.com offers us the efficiencies of the Internet and all that it offers in marketing and electronic commerce," says Bob Graham, Manager, Used Vehicle Sales for ARI. "For the fleet managers we work with, Driveitaway.com represents additional value and a smoother process in the turnover of vehicles. Already, the word-of-mouth is quite positive." Besides participating dealerships, used-car shoppers can place bids on Driveitaway.com by visiting the company's kiosk at the Cherry Hill (NJ) Mall. Driveitaway.com coordinated a major launch event at the Cherry Hill Mall on October 28, which had the Philadelphia Phantoms' mascot, "Phlex," a classic-car display, live entertainment and FREE Driveitway.com giveaway items. Driveitaway.com plans to run its pilot program in Philadelphia area for three months before expanding to key markets nationwide. For more information contact Peter Winicov, Gregory FCA Communications, Inc. 610/642-8253 or firstname.lastname@example.org.