Skip the Dealer: Tred Delivers Cars for Potential Buyers Wherever They Want Them for Test Drives

By Jacob Brown | January 24, 2013
In the business of car reviewing, we oftentimes have fleet management companies deliver cars to the office. It helps clear up confusion and expedites the process. But what if you, the consumer, had a shot at enjoying the same luxury? It looks like it's coming. A company known as Tred, started up with funds from ex-General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner, is a Seattle-based fleet management company which is starting to contract dealers to deliver cars to customers for test drives. In an Automotive News article, it is stated that Tred's initial business has shown that parents with small children have taken a particular benefit from this service. In addition, customers who live on the outskirts of town are now able to get to dealers a little easier.
Tred delivers cars to customers with drivers serving as product specialists, not salespeople. That allows salespeople to stay on lots where they're most effective. All customers have to do is go to Tred's website or iPad app and select what kind of car they want to drive and where to drop it off. Transactions still happen at the dealership, but Tred notes that more than 80 percent of its scheduled drives have resulted in a transaction in initial testing last fall. Outside of the showroom, customers have had few options to drive a car with as low of pressure sales environment as what Tred offers. There are often "ride and drive" events and drives at auto shows, but most of them are one-make drives. Tred has expanded its partnership with five brands, at least for starters. There's also always the option of renting a car, but those are sometimes equipped without the options customers may want. General Motors had an extended test-drive program after emerging from bankruptcy in 2009, but that program has since been eliminated. Tred forges a new path for driving a car without having the pressure of signing for it that day. It launches this fall in the Seattle area, and we'll be keeping our eyes out to see how quickly the concept of test-drives at any time of day in any location work out as the business model evolves. Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)