A new player drove full speed ahead into Alberta’s used car market this week, promising to shake things up.
Canada Drives officially launched in the province Tuesday, following a successful start in B.C. and Ontario.
The 100 per cent online auto buy-and-sell platform allows customers to order a car and have it delivered to their home as soon as the same day.
“This is the way everything is moving,” company founder Cody Green told Global News. “Vehicles are no different.”
What is different, said Green, is the ease of actually buying or selling a vehicle with Canada Drives.
“You’re going to find full transparency,” he pointed out. “You’re going to find the full inspection report of the vehicle, you’re going to see the Carfax — which is the vehicle history report.”
Green added there are also options for additional warranty coverage — above the 30-day free warranty provided — as well as financing options, payment options, and most importantly a trial period.
“When we drop off the vehicle, you’re going to get an hour to walk around the vehicle, make sure it was the right purchase for you,” he added.
“If for any reason in those seven days you decide it is not the perfect fit — let us know and we’re going to come and pick it up.”
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It was that “love it or return it” guarantee that sold Vamsi Avala on his new “used” ride.
“To be honest, I was a little hesitant to buy a car online,” he told Global News.
“But first thing that attracted me was seven-day free return — like no questions asked. And on top of that it’s like a 30 day guarantee.”
Avala also said he believed he got the best deal possible — with Canada Drives’ no price haggling policy — and his vehicle was delivered in just a couple of days.
He’s not sure it would have gone as smoothly at a dealership.
“We have to go through a lot of paperwork, there’s a lot of fees involved in it. And it’s a time taking process I felt,” he added. “Where with online it was a smooth ride — from start to finish.”
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Green said he has seen a tremendous amount of demand for his company’s service in other provinces and he’s confident he can compete with what dealerships are offering — even if they have their inventory online.
“Yes you can look through some pictures online but you’re going to be quickly turned to ‘Hey please call us, please come down, please meet our finance manager our sales manager,’” he added. “I don’t think that’s the experience most Canadians are looking for today.”
Global News reached out to the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association (CADA). In a statement they said car dealers throughout Canada have a “long and successful track record of adapting and evolving the sales experience to meet customer needs.”
It also added new market entrants must follow the rules set out by the provincial government and act as car brokers.
“That ultimately adds an extra layer of cost onto the customer.”
“As the market evolves, CADA is confident that customer buying direct from a local dealer is the lowest cost, best option for consumers.”
The Motor Dealers’ Association of Alberta replied to request for comment adding it: “Welcomes Canada Drives to our province”.
It also said its members have the same capabilities when it comes to online presence and transaction processing — as well as something else.
“It is our experience that most consumers like the opportunity to test drive a vehicle to ensure it meets their needs,” association president Gerald Wood added.
“And they appreciate the fact that our members have a physical location where the vehicle can be serviced in a convenient manner over its lifetime.”
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Green said Canada Drives gives as much power as possible to the consumer when it comes to servicing the vehicle, allowing the consumer to ultimately pick where they want their vehicle fixed.
He also pointed out they employ more than 500 people, many of whom are on the ground in every city Canada Drives operates.
He remains confident the company can get many customers to shift over to its business model, adding even if it doesn’t, its entry into the marketplace is a good thing.
“At the end of the day –this is a win for consumers,” Green added. ” We’re pushing convenience and transparency and they’re (dealers) going to have no choice but to react to that. I think that’s going to be a win for everybody.”
Canada Drives no price haggling policy is in place for both buying or selling a vehicle.
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