GM dealers in California begin eBay sales of their cars

General Motors Tuesday will join legions of mom and pop entrepreneurs by peddling its new wares online on eBay.

Starting Tuesday, consumers can bid for new GM cars from California dealerships online at eBay Motors. It's a novel strategy for the nation's largest automaker. eBay, the San Jose-based online marketplace, runs a brisk business in used cars, but this is the first time sizable quantities of new cars have been offered on the site.

The trial program, announced Monday, is exclusive to California and will run through Sept. 8. Most of the state's 250 GM dealers will be posting new-vehicle inventory for offers on Program organizers characterize it as a potential gold mine, coming on the heels of the sales-boosting federal "cash for clunkers" program.

While eBay Motors has long been a popular stop for used car shoppers, opening up haggling for new vehicles is new ground.

"We don't currently sell a lot of cars on eBay, but if eBay does a good job of promoting it, it's potentially an opportunity to generate a lot of sales," said David A. Rodgers, senior vice president and general manager of the Sullivan Automotive Group, which includes John L. Sullivan Chevrolet in the Roseville Automall. "eBay's brand recognition goes a long way. It's pretty strong."

Rodgers said the entire John L. Sullivan inventory will be posted at the site today.

Officials of eBay said the site will enable consumers to "browse hundreds of California dealer online showrooms, ask questions, negotiate prices and arrange financing and payment to purchase a new 2008, 2009 or select 2010 car."

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