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Internet Department
November 06, 2001 16:21:59
Selling Cars on eBay
Part 1 - Listing your vehicle

Kevin Stevens
Executive Vice President,

More and more people are using the Web to shop for a car. And, where are most of these surfers going to shop for a car? The answer is eBay -- the world's online marketplace. With over 2.8 million unique visitors each month, eBay is quickly becoming a powerhouse for automotive dealers. So much so that Saturn and Saturn retailers are forming a new relationship with eBay, to give used vehicle buyers and sellers greater trust in the on-line trading process through retailer-based automotive inspections.

The Internet and eBay Motors offers your dealership a whole new method of reaching perspective buyers. Unlike buying services that restrict you to your local Primary Market Area (PMA), eBay's primary market is the entire country. We have found that only a small percentage of your online sales will come from people in your market area. Surprisingly, dealers on the East coast will sell vehicles to people on the West coast. Is your national advertising campaign doing this for you? If you are not using eBay Motors, then the answer is probably no.

On the Web, you are what your customers perceive. Presentation does matter. You only have one chance to make the first impression - and it needs to be a good one. Is your listing doing this for you?

If you don't have the slightest clue where to start, you are not alone. Our clients often require guidance through the entire process, from registration to auction management.

To begin with, you'll need to register yourself as a seller with eBay. You can signup directly on eBay using a credit card. The process is relatively simple, free of charge, and will take about 10 minutes to complete.

Next, you'll have to decide which cars to sell. Highline, frontline, wholesalers, wrecks - they'll all sell. From new Ferrari's to old Cadillac's, dealers on eBay Motors have sold just about every type of car imaginable. But, there are a few cars that have consistently moved better than others. Historically, BMW 3 series, BMW 5 series, and Corvettes are the big movers in online auctions.

We're assuming at this point that you've signed up and picked out your car. The next step is taking pictures of the vehicle to be use in the online auction. Our experience has found that this is often the biggest hurdle that you will face in the entire auction process. We offer these words of advice:

Every picture tells a story and the car should be the star of the story. The pictures you choose could determine:

  • If you sell the car or;
  • The final sale price of car. Remember you are asking potential buyers to bid based on what the vehicle looks like and how it is described. Simply put, poor pictures will get you poor results.
  • The pictures should be taken off the dealership lot, or in an area that is clear. Try not to too much clutter in the background. You have probably seen pictures of a car, a building in the background with a piece of art, and maybe some palm trees. Potential bidders are probably asking themselves - "Just what is he selling?"

We also recommend:

  • Take a minimum of 5 pictures, 3-4 pictures of the outside of the car and 1-2 of the inside.
  • The outside pictures should have a view of each side of the car. You can take them at an angle so you get the front and left side.
  • You should also take pictures of anything noteworthy - such as the odometer for low mileage cars.
  • If you take a picture of the wheels, try to turn out the wheel so you can see the tire tread.
  • Bend when taking the pictures. The angle should be level with the car, not looking down.
  • Watch the sunlight. Glare or shadows will alter the pictures. Digital cameras are notoriously bad for handling bright sunlight.

For those of you that don't have or won't invest in a digital camera, you can still list you car (without pictures). But remember, without pictures you are asking potential customers to buy your car sight unseen. This is a very tough challenge for you to overcome. Basically, the more professional your listing is presented, the more success you will have with your auction.

Now, let's move onto the actual design of your listing. One cannot talk about page creation without touching on the technology issues. Sure, you can design your own web page (assuming that you know HTML, JavaScript, and a myriad of other buzzwords). All too often, we find these hand rolled pages consisting of 15-18 large pictures of the car. It is obvious to us that the designers of these pages failed to realize that over 50% of America uses dialup lines. Dialup lines are significantly slower than high speed access methods (DSL, cable modems, etc). In fact, that 15 picture auction listing will take in excess of 4 minutes to completely download to the dialup user. One can only wonder on how many bidders ever bothered to stay the entire download time.

Next month, we'll talk about the tricks, tips, and techniques for closing your first eBay Motors sale. is the industry expert at helping you create, develop, and maximize your eBay Motors sales. Our dealers average almost 1800 visitors to their seven day auction and their closing rate is almost three times the national average! Simple. Affordable. Profitable. Visit us online at Be sure to mention's special promotion code of EN1023 to receive your first listing for free.



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