Facebook Enters the Used Car Market

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Social Media giant Facebook recently announced, on October 26th, that is increasing the amount of used cars for sale that can be viewed via its marketplace feature. The company is teaming up with leading players in the auto industry in order to offer this service.

Speaking in a blog post, the company’s Vice President of Marketplace, Deborah Liu, said that Facebook Marketplace is already used by millions of people in the United States every day, in a bid to find cars, and that their automobile category was now one of the most popular. The expansion of the Marketplace will start in the coming weeks, making it much easier than ever for Facebook’s uses for to look at and buy cars via the site.

New Features

New features you can expect to see on Facebook Marketplace soon is the ability to peruse the auto inventories of Car.com, Auction123, Edmunds, SOCIALDEALER and CDK Global, which will mean that buyers will never have more options available to them.

The company will also make it much easier to find exactly what you’re looking for by adding listing filter features that allow you to search for vehicles by model, year, mileage, transmission, and of course, car type. So, although sometimes you can find an incredible deal on car leasing, and leasing vehicles is now more popular than ever, the industry is likely to see an increase in competition from the used car market. Facebook is doing what it can to make that the case.

Another thing that Facebook plan to do, which will make their car Marketplace even more attractive is making it possible to find out the vehicle’s value from Kelley Blue Book. Potential buyers will even be able to speak to the dealership via Facebook Messenger, so that any questions they have can be answered by professional from the likes of CarCode, ActivEngage and Gubagoo, according to VP Liu.

Other Areas

Facebook is, it has been announced, also at present, carrying out tests in other categories within their Marketplace feature, including the jobs, property rental and event tickets categories. Their aim is to increase the amount of options their users have when looking for a particular product or service in their area.

This is far from the first time that the company has sought partners to help them run their Marketplace features more effectively. Back in the summer, the social media giant launched a brand new Marketplace feature available via its mobile app, which showcased a number of daily deals from online auction site eBay, which users could access via the Marketplace platform. This represented a landmark collaboration which enables buyers to shop via Facebook, whilst checking out through eBay. Users of this service could also use their Facebook app to list their own items for sale. Now, these two giants of the online world are set to go head-to-head with both offering used car listings.

Potential Problems

Whether these new changes to the Marketplace will encourage more users to shop for cars via Facebook is unknown because, although the service is popular, it has not been without its controversies. There have been numerous cases, across all categories, of people being ripped off by unscrupulous sellers who have taken payment without providing goods or providing products which were not all they seemed. Facebook have been, it is fair to say, fairly slow to deal with these issues, and this might cause jitters amongst some of the people these changes are aimed at drawing in if the company does not start to do more to ensure that consumers who use their platform to carry out or arrange transactions have a greater level of protection in order to do so.

Car Leasing

Not only that, but, as we mentioned above, the car rental market is booming right now as more people see the benefits of leasing a vehicle, which they can trade in for a better model after a relatively short time, against buying a vehicle, new or used, outright, which will immediately start to depreciate in value.

In fact, according to research, car leasing in the United States has never been more popular. It is estimated that around 30 percent of all car and truck transactions are now leases, and this is 10 percent up on 2011. This is a trend that most sources agree is set to continue as more people desire the latest vehicles as opposed to an older, used model which perhaps does not give them enough cache.

Another potential spanner in the works for Facebook could be the fact that more individuals are more concerned than ever about carbon emissions and their impact on the environment. Because many used cars are not exactly efficient and because electric cars are set to be the next big thing, this could mean that the bottom will fall out of the used car industry and all of their efforts in boosting this area of their Marketplace will have been all for nought.

Industry insiders are divided on Facebook’s plans, with some saying that making the process of buying a used car seamless from end-to-end will be nothing but a boon for the industry, with others voicing rather more sceptical options on the matter. However, Facebook does have an excellent track record of predicting future trends and producing innovations that soon become the norm, so it would be unreasonable to write them off just yet.

It is also worth noting that the volume of searches conducted in Facebook’s classifieds directory have tripled since they were first launched earlier this year, with more than 18 million listings being posted across all categories in just the United States during that time. Not only that, but there has also been a 77 percent rise in conversations between buyers and sellers in just the first six months of this year, which certainly indicates this latest project’s chances of success. At the very least Facebook is soon going to be one of the first places that buyers at least check out should they want to purchase a used car.

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