Wal-Mart and Asbury Automotive End Used-Vehicle Pilot Program
A pilot program between Wal-Mart and Asbury Automotive here to sell used cars at Wal-Mart Supercenters ended on July 11, 2003, because the volume of customer traffic did not meet expectations. Asbury Automotive, the country’s fourth-largest automobile retailer, shut down its Price 1 Auto Stores at Wal-Mart stores in Richmond, Uvalde, Pasadena and Orange, TX.
Allen Levenson, vice president of sales and marketing for Asbury Automotive, said that the problem wasn’t with the pricing of the cars, which on average was cheaper than on the company’s other lots. “Ultimately, we weren’t getting the traffic that we expected or desired,” he said. He added that the cars ranged in price from $4,995 to $25,000, and that more than 20 percent of the people who entered the lots bought cars.
However, market research by CNW Market Research found a car purchase to be a preconceived activity, not a spur-of-the-moment one. Their respondents typically spent a couple of months thinking about a car before going to the dealer. CNW noted that in England, car sellers tried a similar concept in the parking lots of grocery stores, and it also proved unsuccessful.