Supermarket giant Tesco has launched a used car sales website this weekend, as predicted by Autoblog two months ago!
The partner we suspected to be in cahoots with Tesco all along, Carsite, looks to be correct. That website no longer works and instead all its technology has been plugged into TescoCars.com.
The Tesco website promises to make buying easy giving customers the pick of "thousands of used cars" with big discounts on retail prices.
Customers find their car online, secure it with a £99 deposit, then receive a 167-point RAC report with a video of the car and photo gallery. If they are happy they can collect it or have it delivered to their home for just £149.
It's the model many in the industry predicted would be rolled out and could shake up the way cars are sold online. By not selling at physical locations Tesco is able to sell cars for less. A VW Touareg on a 58 plate with 18k miles was priced at £25,250 on the Tesco website – similar models with more miles are for sale for around £750 more on Auto Trader.
Tesco's finance arm is heavily involved with the offer too – car insurance and breakdown cover are both promoted on the homepage. Currently there are only 50 cars for sale but it's likely these will grow quickly. It's rumoured Tesco will not actually hold any stock – buying instead direct on demand for customers.
Tesco says the buying process will be "convenient, easy and safe with no sales pressure, just dedicated customer support".
Sir Trevor Chinn, chairman of Tesco Cars, added: "When buying a used car, consumers want to know they can trust the information supplied, that they are getting value for money and a good product, all supported by good customer service. Importantly they also want to be able to take their time to make the right purchase for them.
"By marrying these principles, the success of the Tesco brand, and the transparent and un-pressured online sales environment, we believe we will be delivering a positive new experience for today's car buyer."
The motor trade is already having its say on the new website – with many angry that the site has eight pages of testimonials, all from former Carsite buyers.
On Saturday night when the news broke that the website was live, many in the trade were furiously debating the latest entrant to the market.
Daksh Gupta, chief executive of Marshall Motor Group tweeted: "You will get 2,000 club card points which I think is worth £20? Reading the terms and conditions Tesco are NOT the seller they are agents on behalf of fleets. And there's no test drives. Would you buy a used car without test driving?"
Steve Fowler, editor-in-chief of What Car? said he thought the site looks "okay" and the cars were "well priced" and overall it was a "decent offering". But said buyers will be concerned they won't be able to part exchange their current car.
And traders are in two minds as to whether it will affect their business or not. James Litton, a used car dealer, tweeted: "Just been reading RAC reports on Tesco Cars. Tryes on the legal limit, poor wiper blades, stuff not working. Game changer? Not with this model."
Meanwhile, lingscars.com founder Ling Valentine, who specialises in leasing, said: "I am waiting for the UK franchised car dealers to start boycotting Tesco. Wait for the hysterics."
And Chris Green, sales director of Motoring.co.uk, added: "Dealers should up their game in terms of customer service and retention. They have huge historical sales data and need to use it. Customer feedback about Carsite was they didn't buy because they couldn't part-exchange their car."
What do you think? Let us know by posting your comments below.