New way to buy, sell autos in L. A.

Los Angeles Times - - HIGHWAY 1 - By Tracey Lien tracey. lien@ latimes. com Twit­ter: @ traceylien

The on- de­mand econ­omy has, with a few taps on an app, brought ev­ery­thing from lunches to laun­dry to our doorsteps. Now it wants to bring us some­thing a lot big­ger: used cars.

Bay Area start- up Shift re­cently rolled out its on- de­mand car buy­ing and selling ser­vice in Los An­ge­les, pro­vid­ing what it calls the “full end- to- end ex­pe­ri­ence” of buy­ing or selling a used car — from your desk­top or phone. At its core, it’s like Craigslist, but a slew of fea­tures brings it closer to on­de­mand coun­ter­parts like gro­cery de­liv­ery ser­vice In­stacart and postal ser­vice Shyp.

For sellers, in­stead of list­ing a car and field­ing ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est, Craigslist­style, Shift sends one of its “car en­thu­si­asts” ( i. e. in­de­pen­dent con­trac­tors) to the seller to pro­vide a quote, pick up the car, take it to the com­pany’s ware­house for me­chan­i­cal in­spec­tion, han­dle Cal­i­for­nia Depart­ment of Mo­tor Ve­hi­cles pa­per­work and sell the ve­hi­cle on the cus­tomer’s be­half.

On the buyer’s side, Shift’s con­trac­tors bring the car by for a test drive and han­dle the pa­per­work.

It’s one of sev­eral Cal­i­for­nia start- ups launch­ing in Los An­ge­les that’s us­ing tech­nol­ogy to fa­cil­i­tate peerto- peer car buy­ing and selling.

In­sta­mo­tor, also a Bay Area com­pany, had its own launch in Los An­ge­les and Or­ange County last week. Its mo­bile- f irst ser­vice is more akin to a Craigslist, with the added ben­e­fit of an al­go­rithm that scans cars to check for bad history: fraud, past re­calls and hid­den dam­age.

In the case of both Shift and In­sta­mo­tor, nei­ther buyer nor seller pays a fee for the ser­vice. In­sta­mo­tor makes money through bro­ker­ing loans and push­ing war­ranties; Shift of­fers sim­i­lar ser­vices through its part­ners, and also gets a cut of the car’s sale price.

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