GM Wants to Get You On the Front End and Back End with ‘CarBravo’

General Motors is getting ready to launch a used car shopping site called “CarBravo.” By doing so, you’ll pay for your new GM product, and then GM will get paid by the next person who buys it used. And just as with any new car, these used cars will be handled through General Motors dealerships. 

The CarBravo experience is being hyped by GM

An overhead shot of a Fresh Auto car dealership in Moscow, Russia
A used car lot | Getty

“CarBravo will give customers more choice and access to shop significantly expanded inventories of both the dealer and a national central stock of GM used vehicles. Importantly, the program features will also be offered on non-GM used vehicles,” said Steve Carlisle, president of GM North America. “CarBravo is designed to provide customers the convenience to shop how they want, where they want online, at the dealership or both.”

It’s the perfect scenario for GM, which could only count on profits from initially building the vehicle until now. It gets the customer on the front end and back end; a win, win (and maybe win, win, win) for sure. While new car sales have been stymied by COVID-related interruptions and supply chain issues, used cars have become the lifeblood for dealers in the last two years. 

So used cars are hotter than in previous years; too hot for GM to ignore. According to Carlisle, several used car platforms gave GM the framework to launch this venture. “CarBravo would be more than competitive,” he said. 

Used vehicle sales are the key CarBravo target

Used cars sit on a sales lot in March 2021 in El Cerrito, California
Used cars sit on the sales lot | Getty

“I can’t overemphasize the importance of used vehicles to our dealership operations and profitability,” said Todd Ingersoll of the Ingersoll Auto of Danbury, Connecticut, to Automotive News. At the end of the day, the most successful new-car dealers have great used-car operations,” he told reporters.

GM plans to launch CarBravo this spring, so Chevy, Buick, and GMC dealers are signing up now. Absent from the rush of GM franchise dealers are Cadillac-affiliated dealerships. Carlisle told reporters Cadillac is developing a separate program around its used cars. 

GM Financial leases over 500,000 GM vehicles a year

A used car dealership with flags and various cars out front.
Used car dealership | Getty Images

GM Financial handles leasing GM vehicles in the US. So it has first dibs on any off-lease vehicles. As with Tesla, leases aren’t open for purchase from the lessee once the lease ends. It looks like GM is taking yet another leaf from the Tesla playbook. GM Financial leases over 500,000 vehicles yearly. 

GM will also offer free periods of its OnStar and SiriusXM subscriptions. It hopes to increase these subscription-based assets with the CarBravo arrangement. And all of the protocols developed during the pandemic will be available. That means at-home test drives, home delivery, and in some cases roadside service and courtesy transportation. 

Slowly, the sale of new vehicles is being gobbled up by the manufacturers through reservations. Dealers are left with supporting roles and providing service after the sale. It looks like GM wants to see the same thing happen with used cars too. We’ll see if this is the new normal in new and used car selling, post-pandemic.

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