Kendall Auto Group has taken a leadership role in the online sales startup Joydrive, a virtual network of automobile dealers offering customers online buying and leasing opportunities without ever visiting a dealership.
The web service includes trade-in and financing options as well as home delivery and a five-day return policy. Customers can also sell their vehicles through the online marketplace.
Kendall Auto Group, which operates dealerships in Bend and Eugene, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska, joined Joydrive’s network and gained a spot on its Advisory Board in May, expanding the online marketplace to 141 dealers in 14 states with a selection of more than 30,000 cars.
“This new model expands Kendall’s services for our customers by addressing the increasing trend toward online shopping and convenience,” said Kendall Auto Group President and COO Michael Skillern. “We know the market is always changing, and we want our customers to know we’ll do whatever it takes to meet their needs.”
Skillern, 37, said the program fills a void in what his dealerships have already been trying to accomplish internally via online sales. He said the platform gives customers more choices across multiple franchises and expands his reach in terms of geography.
Skillern noted that car buyers have been shopping on individual dealer websites for a long time and submitting information to third party sites like Autotrader and Cars.com. He said the difference with Joydrive is that consumers can actually make a purchase through the site.
“There are third parties out there that provide information to customers, but you can’t actually purchase through those websites,” Skillern said. “We definitely think it’s the way of the future in terms of transactions and how they’ll occur for our business.”
Skillern said that while Joydrive is still in the early phase of adoption by dealers and consumers alike, he’s estimating that 40-50 percent of his sales over the next two to three years will come from online purchases. He said the platform’s ease of use and better customer experience compared to missed phone calls or slow email responses will ultimately attract consumers.
According to Joydrive, this is the first time car dealers in different states with competing brands have partnered on one comprehensive web platform. The company says its virtual marketplace gives Kendall and the other dealers a nationwide marketplace of their own where customers can buy or sell any brand of new or used car, offer trade-ins and secure financing – all online from the comfort of their homes.
Joydrive founder and CEO Hunter Gorham said the company’s online marketplace has brought together automobile dealers from across the country in a “Hulu-style platform” – a reference to the TV streaming service – to lead their digital transformation and meet the demands of the e-commerce driven buyer.
“Like Hulu, Joydrive is unique in that it breaks down the individual properties together into one easy to navigate and user-friendly process to sell your car or buy any brand of new or used car,” said Gorham. “Just like you aren’t watching a show on ABC tonight, you’re watching Hulu, a car buyer isn’t eagerly heading out to sell or shop several local Toyota and Subaru dealers but shopping for and buying any brand from Joydrive.”
The company has also recently added a “Sell My Car” function, allowing customers to sell their cars without the purchase of a new car. Customers can receive an offer in less than 60 seconds, 24 hours a day, according to Joydrive.