Wal-Mart Stores has entered the automobile sales market after forming a partnership with several dealership groups including the nation’s largest new-vehicle retailer AutoNation, Inc., according to Automotive News.
The program will be called CarSaver, serving as an online auto retail platform, and is set to launch the program on April 1 at 25 Wal-Mart stores in four markets: Houston, Phoenix, Dallas and Oklahoma City. CarSaver will allow shoppers to select, finance and insure a vehicle through its website or on a touch-screen kiosk set up inside Wal-Mart stores.
The service will then connect customers with a local, certified dealer and schedule an appointment to visit the dealership, similar to a TrueCar Inc buying experience, with no haggle upfront pricing. For the referral, dealerships will pay CarSaver a “success fee” of $350.
The two companies launched a pilot version of the program in Florida in 2016 with much success, almost 80 percent of appointments scheduled led to a sale and customers saved over $3,000 of MSRP.
Wal-Mart is modeling the program off the success Costco Wholesale Corporation has had through its own auto-buying program. The nation’s largest retailer is hoping to leverage its credible name to ensure a more trusted referral for an auto purchase. Ally Financial Inc is the preferred lender.