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Dave Smith Motors partners with Joydrive to expand online car-buying experience

UPDATED: Wed., Sept. 26, 2018

Rows and rows, lots and lots, literally thousands of new cars fill every square inch of Kellogg, Idaho, where Dave Smith Motors is headquartered. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Rows and rows, lots and lots, literally thousands of new cars fill every square inch of Kellogg, Idaho, where Dave Smith Motors is headquartered. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
By Samantha Malott The Spokesman-Review

Looking to buy a car? Tired of spending your entire Saturday at the dealership?

Dave Smith Motors has announced it has partnered with Joydrive, an online network of handpicked car dealerships, to offer customers a new way to buy.

“Customers are now going more toward this Amazon effect,” said Orrin Neese, marketing director for pre-owned vehicles for Kellogg, Idaho-based Dave Smith Motors. “More and more are wanting in home delivery … We have customers asking for that opportunity.

“They ask, we give.”

Hunter Gorham, Seattle-based Joyride founder and CEO, noted 64 percent of American households have an Amazon Prime membership.

“That’s more than voted in the presidential election,” he said. “This is how many people are consuming things and living their life, and they want their experience simple, transparent, haggle free and to be able to buy from home.

“Joydrive lets customers buy new or used cars from home on their couch. No dealership visit required.”

Through Joydrive, the car-buying process can be completed entirely online – from browsing available vehicles at dealer partners across the country, to being approved for financing through the selected dealer’s network of lenders, evaluating and setting up trade-in options on their current vehicle and scheduling a delivery day and time for their purchase. Once delivered, buyers also have five days or 250 miles to test drive and return the vehicle for a full refund if they decide it isn’t a good fit.

“That’s five days versus the 10 minutes you may get at a dealer … and when you leave you own it, no returns,” Gorham said.

Gorham said 89 percent of customers walk into a dealership already knowing what they want and are there because they have to be. But now, there’s another option. And customers have already noticed.

The Los Angeles Times reported in December that Phoenix-based Carvana has grown quickly from its 2012 founding to offering an almost entirely online used-car buying experience. “Consumers can look at car, make selections, arrange financing and arrange a trade-in without leaving their laptops. CarMax, Sonic Automotive, Car Gurus and Vroom offer similar services,” the newspaper reported.

Joydrive says it is the largest, and first, online auto store providing access to both new and used cars through multiple dealerships. Companies such as Carvana offer only used cars. Gorham said Carvana sold 45,000 cars last year and is set to reach 100,000 this year. “The dealers are losing every bit of that money,” he said. “The customer is telling them ‘look, we want a new way to buy cars.’ ”

Customer service data shows less than 1 percent of customers prefer the current car-buying experience, he said, but “dealers right now don’t have a great online solution.”

Joydrive gives dealers that, Gorham said, and empowers them to access customers they didn’t have before. Shoppers can start on either site – Joydrive or the dealership – but the purchase process will be completed through Joydrive.

Eric Smith, dealer principal for Dave Smith Motors, said the dealership currently sells nationwide, but buyers from out of the area would have to fly to Kellogg and drive their new vehicle home.

“Now they can just go on our website and we can ship it directly to them. It is a matter of convenience,” Smith said. “We can build on what we already have (customer wise).”

Shipping is free for the first 100 miles from dealer to buyer and goes up from there. For example, Spokane to Lewiston would be free, but Spokane to New York City could cost up to $3,000 based on the upfront shipping cost provided on Joydrive.com.

Joydrive has partnered with more than 50 dealerships to offer about 13,000 vehicles, but hopes to reach 50,000 vehicles by the end of the year.

Joyride is very selective about which dealers it will work with, Gorham said. “We go through a screening process where we really not only want to work with the elite, but also the dealers that are truly as passionate as us about offering a new experience.”

Gorham said Dave Smith Motors has been an innovator for a long time and it was looking for a platform to do even more. Dave Smith Motors shares the same passion as Joyride, he said, “so that’s a winning combo. So we are really pumped to have them. They have an outstanding team and we are excited to have them on Joyride.”

Neese said likewise, that Joydrive “fit perfectly in with our company policy and our philosophy of a hassle-free buying experience. They are still getting that Dave Smith experience, but with a twist and more convenience.”

An automobile is often the second-biggest purchase for Americans, he said, and the online process takes off some of that pressure and stress.

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