Home Car Products Is Shift the Future of Car Selling?

Is Shift the Future of Car Selling?

January 7, 2017
Shift's picture of our Audi TTS

Selling a Car Sucks

When we wrote about our experience renting out our TTS to random people, we left out a crucial detail: selling the car.

For those who have not had the pleasure, selling a car is the most miserable experience. Fielding calls and emails, dealing with no-shows who were originally ‘super interested’ in the car, and watching helplessly from the passenger’s seat as the test drive turns into a felony all make the experience an emotional rollercoaster.

Pricing is also a challenge. KBB and other used car value sites can’t really estimate the demand of low volume cars. The TTS roadster is a niche car because it’s a two seat performance convertible – not that many people are looking for such a car.

Initially using Craigslist, we received no real hits. One couple wished to purchase the car after test driving it but offered $5,000 less for the vehicle. They thought it was an older A4 convertible. Depression was creeping, thinking we’d have to eventually take a huge hit on the price of the car in order to get rid of it.

Hope Sometimes Calls

That’s when Shift called on a Thursday afternoon. Shift wanted to buy the car outright for the price we were trying to sell it on our own and they wanted to pick it up that night.

Shift is branded as the future of car selling. They act as a consignment seller taking on the marketing, price setting, test driving, cleaning, and maintenance checks of the car in exchange for a cut of the sale price. For the buyer of  a vehicle, they offer a 7 day return policy for greater peace of mind and a self-proclaimed no-negotiation white glove buying experience.

The offer Shift gave was a bit different from their typical business model. They wanted to purchase the car directly from us, instead of selling on our behalf. They also offer a cut of the upside if the TTS sells above a certain price.

Getting a random call from a relatively new Bay Area start-up offering a guaranteed price should make anyone skeptical. But, with summer quickly coming to an end  and no real hits to buy the TTS at this price, we reluctantly accepted.

Selling on Shift

When the field rep arrived, he inspected the car for dents, scratches and things like missing keys. The rep was friendly and we talked cars for the 30 minutes it took him to review all of the car. After signing a few documents, the rep took the car to their warehouse for cleaning and maintenance work we agreed to perform. The TTS was gone, though the thought of this being an elaborate GTA scheme was slightly pervasive in our heads.

The car was listed on Shift’s with great pictures and a relatively generic description after a few days. We also received the full amount Shift promised us. It was priced about $4,000 above the price the purchase price which we thought was extremely optimistic. At this price, we would get half of the profit.

Shift did a lot to market the car. The TTS was also being advertised on Facebook and other internet properties. We received weekly updates with the number of test drives, interested party contacts, and other metrics.

As expected, the car did sit on Shift’s site for about 5 weeks. Each week, they lowered the TTS’ price by $250 – $500. Shift eventually got a few bites as the price dropped.

That’s a Wrap

We eventually received notice that the car was sold $500 above what they purchased the car. All DMV and seller paperwork was handled by them. We didn’t have to meet with a single interested buyer or conduct test drives and never had to field any calls or emails from prospective buyers. The car sold for what we thought was a fair price and we were excited to put the painful experience – and car – to an end.

For those interested in purchasing a car through Shift, you can use this link to get an additional $100 off the purchase price of the car.

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1 comment

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