Classic Chevy, Northwest Motorsport team with online car sales startup

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CARY, N.C.  - 

The dealer advisory board for Joydrive has now landed two of the nation’s top dealers, including the chair of the Texas Automobile Dealer Association, whose stores will also list their inventory with the online car sales startup.

Classic Chevrolet dealer principal and TADA chairman Tom Durant has joined Don Fleming of independent dealership Northwest Motorsport as an adviser for Joydrive.

Both stores have joined the network of dealerships listing their inventory through the platform, which allows consumers to buy cars from dealerships entirely online without visiting a store.

As reported in the Feb. 15 “Best CPO Dealers” issue of Auto Remarketing, Classic Chevrolet ranked eighth among all Chevy dealers for certified pre-owned sales in 2017, moving 1,128 units. 

With the inventory of the Grapevine, Texas-based store coming into the platform, Joydrive would then have inventory listings from Florida, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas and Washington.

Joydrive’s network, which started with Seattle dealerships, can deliver anywhere in the U.S., the company said.

“We are selling cars today the same way we sold them 40 years ago, even though many consumers clearly want an alternative,” said Classic’s Durant, in a news release. “I don’t want to be the group that’s left behind, and this is an important step toward embracing a different future.”

Meanwhile, Northwest Motorsport, which has several locations throughout Washington state, was among the leading independent dealerships in the country last year, according to Cross-Sell Reports data in the June 1 issue of Auto Remarketing. It was an early partner of Joydrive, which has been in beta mode since 2016, and has been working to test the technology with the company.

Fleming, of Northwest Motorsport, said: “The simple reality is that customers want alternatives, and we are excited to lead the industry in giving customers what they want.”

Once the addition of Texas is finished, Joydrive founder Hunter Gorham anticipates the company’s inventory to reach 20,000 units. It was 500 in November and 3,000 in March, the company said.

“Joydrive is enhancing the existing dealership model by empowering dealers to provide both the online experience and national marketplace customers demand,” said Gorham, a former Ally Financial executive, in a news release. 

“The most canny and farsighted dealers are joining us to give consumers what they most want--  a new buying experience, while also ensuring they are in a position to adapt and grow in this next period of industry evolution. We’re making buying a car easy and even fun.”

Earlier this year, Auto Remarketing caught up with Gorham to learn more about the company and the process of buying a car through Joydrive.  

The company’s technology team is primarily based in Raleigh, N.C., with the operations side in Seattle.

The shopper starts out the search on Joydrive. Since the company works with dealers, it is able to offer online trade-in and financing, as well, during checkout.

The consumer can reserve the vehicle with a $500 refundable deposit, which also can be done via ApplePay for those that don’t wish to use a credit card.

The consumer uploads the necessary documents based on deal’s paraments, he said, and the next step is delivery. The dealership brings the car to the shopper’s home or business, and that is followed by a five-day/250-mile return period.

As to why Joydrive chose to involve dealerships in the online sales process — whereas some models in the space do not — Gorham pointed to his 14 years at Ally, which included time helping lead the company’s digital program with some of the larger digital players.

He said the, “lightbulb went off for me after working firsthand with these digitals. I saw the incredible customer response to buying a vehicle online, but I also saw the challenges and eventual collapse of some of them, where they owned their own inventory and were trying to cut out the dealer.

“So, bottom line, it became clear that embracing the right dealers, instead of fighting them, this would enable us – what we viewed as a better model – to provide customers an easy, digital car-buying experience completely online,” Gorham said.

Involving dealers in the model allows Joydrive to include new cars, more choice in inventory and potentially faster delivery, as the delivering dealer is usually close to the end consumer. However, delivery, again, can be done anywhere in the U.S.  But, say, a delivery from Seattle to North Carolina, for example, would show an associated delivery fee, he said.

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