Walmart will start selling cars at 25 of its supercenters in Houston, Dallas, Phoenix, and Oklahoma City with the help of partnerships with AutoNation Inc. and CarSaver.com.
Ally Financial will be the preferred lender for the program, which will launch April 1 on CarSaver.com, an online auto retail platform, Automotive News reported.
CarSaver allows customers to select, finance, and insure vehicles through its touch-screen kiosk, which will be located in the Walmart stores, or online, according to Automotive News. Staffers will be on hand at Walmart to help customers through the process.
"CarSaver is a free auto-buying program that uses a network of certified dealers, lenders, and insurance providers to guarantee savings and low prices on all brands, new and used," said a statement on the website of Sean Wolfington, the chief executive officer of CarSaver.com.
CarSaver would like to put kiosks in Walmart supercenters around the country, connecting its customers with some 10,000 certified dealerships they deal with, Automotive News reported.
A pilot program in Stuart, Florida, last year saw that nearly 80 percent of the appointments made through the program ended up in vehicle sales, Wolfington told Automotive News.
The program is being compared to Costco, which has been selling cars through various dealer partnerships for several years, according to the Business Insider.
The Business Insider reported last year that Costco sold 58,000 vehicles in 2015 during a holiday sales promotion where the bulk discount retailer partnered with General Motors. That number was a 34 percent increase over the same sales period in 2014.
"Technically, Costco itself does not sell the cars, and doesn't make any money on the auto sales," stated Business Insider writer Kate Taylor last year. "Instead using the program as a way to attract new members and maintain existing members' interest."
In the Walmart-CarSaver.com plan, the AutoNation dealerships will all be located within 15 miles of the Walmart supercenters. and CarSaver.com makes a $350 "success fee" off of each vehicle sold, Automotive News said.
"The right location is very valuable," AutoNation chief marketing officer Marc Cannon told Automotive News. "You want to make sure it's convenient for your customers.
"It's not just the sale. We want to keep them as a customer and continue to develop the service part of our business."
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