by Nick Fierro
How about a slightly used Maserati?
Carvana, the online used-car platform, launched in St. Louis on Wednesday—the company’s first foray into Missouri. It offers a “complete and seamless online car-buying experience,” sans sleazy salesmen. According to the Carvana website, you can browse, inspect, and buy a used car in ten minutes from the comfort of your sofa. That means you can say goodbye to the days when buying a car pantsless got you thrown out of the dealership — because there is no dealership.
Instead, customers have two options: schedule a delivery as soon as the next day; or arrange a pick-up at a “Car Vending Machine,” one of Carvana’s bizarre, monolithic garages scattered throughout Texas and Tennessee. If you’re especially keen to see one in person, but live out of reach, don’t fret — through their “Fly and Drive” program, you can arrange a one-way flight down, and Carvana will cover $200 of your ticket (just don’t book United).
If all this raises eyebrows, don’t worry — you’re not alone. With the advantages of a fully-online storefront comes the pitfalls of, well, being unable to “try before you buy.” However, Carvana knows this and, to soothe the skeptics, offers a seven-day return-and-refund policy, and a 100-day warranty.
Carvana insists that, through them, you won’t get a lemon; they only accept cars that have passed a 150-point certification process. Their website offers inside-and-out tours of each specific car, allowing you to inspect thoroughly what you’re buying — warts and all.
The Phoenix-based company was founded in 2012, and has since expanded to 24 markets nationwide, including St. Louis, and boasts an inventory of more than 7,300 cars. They claim that customers last year saved an average of $1,430 against suggested retail value. Carvana also allows trade-ins and quick estimates for used cars, provided they pass inspection.
“We’re so pleased the Gateway City is our gateway into the Midwest,” said Carvana founder and CEO Ernie Garcia, in a press release. “Launching our free delivery services in St. Louis allows us to give nearly 4 million customers an alternative to the traditional dealership experience.”