CARY, N.C. -

The blending and blurring of the wholesale and retail used-car markets continues.

Drivably announced a new online community Thursday that allows consumers to instantly sell their cars to dealers, who bid on the vehicles through an online auction.

Essentially, Drivably Marketplace gives dealers “exclusive access” to much-needed used vehicles and consumers a quick-and-easy way to sell their cars, the company said.

“For those who don’t know, dealers are struggling to keep enough inventory on their lots to meet consumer demand,” Drivably founder and chief executive officer Tyler Hall said in a news release. “The pandemic halted production of new cars and demand for microchips installed in vehicles has surged for cell phones and other electronic devices, preventing even more new cars from being manufactured. 

“If you’re a consumer who wants to sell your car, now is the time. If you’re a dealer looking for inventory, Drivably Marketplace is here to help,” Hall said.

Here’s how the process is designed to work for consumers.

The car owner would upload their vehicle information via Drivably and is given an “Auto Buddy” to guide them through the sale process.  After sharing information about their vehicle, Drivalby provides an instant offer.  

Drivably’s team of customer advocates confirms the vehicle’s quality, condition, year/make/model and other items. An adjusted offer is made, if needed.

“And as soon as that’s done, the vehicle is then listed on our marketplace for sale,” Hall said in an interview for the Auto Remarketing Podcast.

And then the auction process begins. Here’s how that works.

“When this launches, this will feel very similar to an ACV Auctions or a BacklotCars. So, a fully digital auction where I log in and on a daily basis I’m seeing a batch list, essentially, from the previous day, every vehicle that was sourced through,” Hall said in the interview. “For dealers, it will feel and operate and look very much like the digital auctions that they have access to today.”

In terms of the actual auction format, Drivably is currently gathering feedback from dealers testing the platform, Hall said. There are different auction format options on the table.

The company is exploring, “whether or not we do sort of static auctions where we set a reserve and dealers have a day or even two days to put their best offer on that car until the reserve is met, for example, or if we run a 20-minute auction or a one-hour auction or a one-day auction,” Hall said.

Drivably is looking into what makes the most sense for dealers and consumers.

“Really, what we’ve narrowed it down to is that we will either run a real-time auction at the moment the inspection is happening from the consumer’s driveway or we will batch all those cars and we’ll run it the following day, let’s say 8 o’clock a.m. Pacific Time and running sort of micro 15- to 20-minute auctions, where dealers would have had a chance to view the run list for the next day and then place their bids during a live timed auction,” Hall explained.

In terms of verifying the vehicle information that the consumer provides, Drivably will at first utilize third-party partners who have personnel in the major markets. Hall said this allows the company to scale the platform more quickly than rolling out a market-by-market approach.

The company will also be turning to third parties for other tasks like vehicle transport, collecting funds and so forth. But eventually, the plan is to bring those tasks in-house, Hall said.

“As you can imagine, there’s several logistics involved in buying a vehicle from a consumer’s driveway. So, it’s not just the inspection, but it’s also dispatching the inspector prior to the inspection, it’s adjusting the value in real-time,” Hall said.

“It’s paying the consumer, it’s running the real-time auction, it’s moving the vehicle once the transaction is done. And then it’s collecting funds from the dealer,” Hall said. “So, there’s several logistics in being able to pull this off. And in the beginning, we’re predominantly relying on third-party partnerships to do it. But in due time, Drivably will power most of that experience, so we can keep the experience for the consumer very fluid and control that as much as possible.”

As far as the rollout of Drivably Marketplace, the company will be testing the platform in a “handful of markets,” and has already tested it in a couple of major markets.

“And part of the equation here is in order to create the best experience for the consumer, we really need to have a robust network of dealers who are looking at these cars and bidding on these cars on a daily basis,” Hall said. “So, that’s the reason why we are enabling dealers to sign up for early access. And there’s sort of a benchmark that we want to get to before we really start to roll this out nationwide.”

In the news release, Drivably also notes that it has integrated analytics from the major industry data partners as well as historical transaction data to guide dealers in terms of ideal vehicles to purchase and in which markets and for what price.

“Finding inventory doesn’t have to be difficult,” Hall said in the release. “Our advanced technology identifies sellers and enables them to sell their cars to dealers in real-time. People appreciate Drivably most because it’s easy to use and extremely efficient.”

For more details, see the below episode of the Auto Remarketing Podcast, where we talked with Hall about how the platform works, how it will be marketed and more.