Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the number of stores involved in the test.
Walmart and online auto sales middleman CarSaver on Wednesday announced they will expand their auto-selling partnership, launched as a pilot last year in 14 Walmart Supercenters in Houston, Dallas, Phoenix and Oklahoma City.
The program, billed as "CarSaver at Walmart," connects Walmart customers with a network of certified dealers through CarSaver.com, Walmart.com and through kiosks in about 250 U.S. Walmart stores, according to a dedicated website.
Ally Financial is offering gift card incentives to Walmart customers who finance through Ally on the CarSaver site, and a program is in the works for Walmart's 1.5 million U.S. employees to help them save time and money when buying a car, according to a Walmart press release emailed to Retail Dive.
Retail giants like Walmart know that a lot of the products they sell are much alike, if not identical. That's why Amazon and Walmart are racing to outdo themselves on price and convenience, with same-day delivery, in-store pickup and delivery all the way to the fridge.
And then there are the perks to sweeten the deal, essentially a beckoning index finger. Where Amazon's Prime membership comes with additional benefits like video and music streaming, as well as photo storage, Walmart has long stacked its locations with access to services like tax refund cash pickup, health insurance and health insurance advice, check-cashing services, mobile checking accounts, and in Canada, even legal services, aimed at its core customer base, which include a lot of people without traditional bank accounts.
It's somewhat of a surprise that Walmart has taken so long to add auto sales services to that list. The tie-up with CarSaver resembles a partnership between Walmart-owned Sam's Club and similar auto sales site TrueCar, and Costco has run a similar service under its own brand for 25 years.
Shoppers in the market for a new or used car increasingly have a lot of options when it comes to research, price comparison and financing. CarSaver claims that its average customer has saved more than $3,500 off of MSRP on the purchase and $3,900 on repairs covered by CarSaver's lifetime warranty. Its services serve as a conduit to local dealerships and in most areas are bilingual.