As the car buying experience shifts more toward online sales, both new and used vehicle dealers are taking note and making moves designed to cater more toward remote purchases. The latest comes from CarMax, the largest used-car retailer in the U.S., which just announced that it is acquiring automotive research and vehicle listing site Edmunds in a $404 million dollar deal that includes CarMax’s current $50 million dollar minority stake in Edmunds.
CarMax expects the deal to close in June, at which time it will acquire the remaining stake in Edmunds using a mixture of cash and stock. Edmunds will continue to operate as its own separate entity, but the acquisition will help the two companies accelerate their plans to provide an enhanced digital experience for customers by leveraging CarMax’s scale and infrastructure with Edmunds’ tech and content.
Since CarMax first acquired a minority stake in Edmunds back in January of 2020, the two have worked together to develop an instant-offer online tool for those looking to sell their vehicles. “The instant offer products on Edmunds.com and CarMax.com have put CarMax in the position to become the largest online buyer of used autos from consumers,” said Bill Nash, the company’s President and Chief Executive Officer.
Ford Motor Company is also taking advantage of the shift toward online sales, as it recently launched Ford Blue Advantage, a new online marketplace for certified used Ford vehicles. And in Mexico, the automaker now offers consumers the ability to complete an entire vehicle purchase online, save for picking up the vehicle from the dealership.
Meanwhile, the used car market remains red hot even in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. As we reported yesterday, in many cases, prices have risen so high on some used models that it just makes more sense to buy new, if consumers are able to find new models amid the current semiconductor chip shortage. Average used car payments have skyrocketed as well, recently cresting the $400 per month mark.