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Car and Driver: GM Opening Up Its Pre-Owned Auction Cars For Public Sale


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Unless you’re a registered dealer, you’re not allowed inside most used-car auctions, where a couple hundred thousand vehicles trade hands every week. But starting next month, General Motors will offer ordinary car-buying Americans their first peek at its private stash, named the “Factory Pre-Owned Collection.”



For the first time, GM is making available to the public its auction inventory—specifically, the former rentals, GM company cars, and lease turn-ins that dealers bid for across the country. When the website launches, anyone can search for one of the more than 30,000 GM used cars nationwide, none of which are listed elsewhere since they’re all owned by GM and the rental companies. Think of the celebrity factor: You just might snag a Corvette that Mary Barra herself might have heel-toed in stilettos. Or a low-mileage stick-shift CTS-V wagon, a rare specimen built almost exclusively for auto journalists.


Essentially, the Factory Pre-Owned Collection (call it FPO) widens your selection of certified pre-owned cars and lets your participating dealer act like a CarMax, since they can have a car shipped from any of GM’s 45 auction sites, and there’s zero obligation to buy. Unlike CarMax, the final price is negotiable, as is the shipping fee, but FPO is not a wholesale discount program. Once your dream Malibu—for example—arrives on the lot, it becomes part of that dealer’s inventory and will be priced at retail, just like everything else.


The cars, however, are newer than what you’d find in the normal CPO inventory. All the FPO cars have fewer than 37,000 miles, versus the 75,000-mile limit on CPO Chevrolet, Buick, and GMC models, and 70,000 miles on Cadillacs. The rest of GM’s standard CPO benefits apply, including a one-year/12,000-mile extended warranty (two years or 20,000 miles on a Cadillac), a two-year/24,000-mile scheduled maintenance plan (oil changes, tire rotations, and inspections; this is optional on a normal CPO Cadillac), three months of OnStar and SiriusXM, plus roadside assistance and loaner cars for the duration of the warranty. If you don’t like the car, you can trade it for something else within three days or 150 miles. (CarMax gives full refunds within five days.)


GM may be investing in car sharing, apps, and all sorts of non-automotive tech fantasies, but used car sales are still a huge business. Industry-wide, CPO sales hit 2.55 million cars last year, a nine-percent increase from 2014 and the fifth year of consecutive increases, according to auction company Manheim. Even if new car sales dip from last year’s record, used inventory will only rise in the coming years—and the automakers want to move more of it themselves.


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