It was just a matter of time: More than a year after Walmart-owned Sam’s Club began selling customers cars, taking on Costco’s long-running auto program, and with Amazon dipping its toes into the industry, Walmart is finally following suit.
Automotive News reports that Walmart has partnered with AutoNation and CarSaver to create an online auto retail platform that will begin selling vehicles to customers at 25 of the big box retailer’s locations starting in April.
Through the program, CarSaver will be available at select stores in Houston, Dallas, Phoenix, and Oklahoma City this spring, offering customers a one-stop shop for car buying and financing.
Not everything will be online, though, as CarSaver employees will be on-hand in-store near the cash registers and other Walmart-based services, like vision centers or nail salons.
Customers will first make their interest in a new or used vehicles known either by directly speaking to a rep at the Walmart-based kiosks, online, or by calling an 800 number, Automotive News reports.
After that, CarSaver will connect the customer with an AutoNation or other dealer within 15 miles of the Walmart store. The dealer will schedule an appointment with the would-be buyer to complete the car-purchasing process.
Walmart tested a version of the program at a store in Stuart, FL, last spring. According to the company, 80% of appointments set by Walmart customers resulted in a sale that averaged more than $3,000 in savings for buyers.
“The right location is very valuable. You want to make sure it’s convenient for your customers,” AutoNation Chief Marketing Officer Marc Cannon, tells Automotive News. “It’s not just the sale. We want to keep them as a customer and continue to develop the service part of our business.”