It's official: you really can get anything at Walmart. In an unprecedented move, the mega-retailer is taking a dive into the world of auto sales. Just don't expect any sales people on site... or cars.
Walmart has partnered with multiple dealership groups, including AutoNation, and the online auto retailer CarSaver. The latter provides technology that allows buyers to "select, finance and insure" all from one kiosk located across from the store registers. Customers can search for the vehicle they want, new or used, and view the average market price. Once a selection is made, the customer can process their financing and insurance all in one spot.
Beginning in April, four major cities across America will see CarSaver via Walmart coming their way: Houston, Dallas, Phoenix and Oklahoma City. The nearly two dozen test stores will pave the way for a national roll-out in all 3,500 stores over the next couple of years.
Ally Financial has hopped onboard as the preferred lender, and customers who choose Ally get the added bonus of a $100 Walmart gift card. CarSaver staffers will also be on hand for questions and assistance through the process, if needed.
So where do the cars come in? CarSaver has partnered with local car dealerships, all within a 15-mile radius of the kiosk. When the transaction is complete at the kiosk, CarSaver calls and sets up an appointment at the dealership. At that point, the customer can test drive the vehicle and complete the sale.
For people who hate feeling the looming pressure of a car salesman, this is seemingly a dream come true. When Walmart ran a pilot program last April in Stuart, Florida, they received an overwhelmingly positive response.
"Nearly 80 percent of the appointments scheduled through the program led to a sale, and on average, customers saved more than $3,000 off the sticker price, with the program's no-haggle, upfront pricing," Sean Wolfington, CarSaver's CEO, told Automotive News.