Tred Supercharges Car Buying With Home-Delivered Test Drives


  • Home-Delivered Test Drives Picture

    Home-Delivered Test Drives Picture

    Tred says it will roll out home-delivered test drives in various U.S. cities soon. | June 20, 2013

Just the Facts:
  • Tred has unveiled a new service that for $19 will deliver a vehicle to any location for a test drive.
  • The company said the test-drive service is available in the Seattle area, with plans to expand soon to other cities in the U.S.
  • Test drives are available for 14 brands, including GM, Ford, Honda, Toyota, Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz.

SEATTLE, Washington — Start-up operation Tred has unveiled a new service that for a flat fee of $19 will deliver a vehicle to a shopper's home or office for a test drive.

Using a computer, tablet or smartphone, prospective buyers visit tred.com and select up to two vehicles to be brought to the location of their choice. The cars will be delivered by a trained, dealer-independent Tred consultant — the company calls them "matchmakers" — who will check for a valid driver's license, go along for the ride, then remain on hand to answer questions.

So, a shopper interested in midsize sedans might ask to test drive a Ford Fusion and a Chevy Malibu. Once the cars are delivered, they can be inspected, driven and compared. They could even be loaded with cargo, tested to see how they fit in the garage, or checked for compatibility with a child safety seat.

Before leaving, the Tred employee hands over a resource packet containing information on the next steps in the car-buying process. Soon after the test drive, Tred sends out dealer contact information and a price report that compares the local dealer price to independent market data, such as Edmunds True Market Value® pricing.

Tred says that it offers "secure rock-bottom delivery pricing" and that the price it quotes is guaranteed for two weeks after the test drive.

Once a purchasing decision is made, Tred says it even "turbocharges" the buying process. According to the company's Web site, "instead of spending the national average of 4.3 hours at the dealership buying your new car, with Tred that time will be cut in half," since buyers don't visit the dealership until they know what they want and what they'll be paying.

Tred says its delivery people do not make commissions, nor does the company get a percentage of sales. Its revenue comes from the $19 per-car fee from customers and from an undisclosed fee it charges to dealerships.

The obvious advantages to shoppers are convenience and time savings, but dealers benefit as well. In effect, the people visiting their showrooms have already made a purchasing decision, and Tred says its process also reduces the amount of time dealerships spend on negotiation and paperwork.

So far, Tred has established relationships with about 40 dealers offering 14 different brands, including GM, Ford, Honda, Toyota, Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz.

Former General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner was among the investors who provided $1.7 million in seed money to Tred, the company said in a statement.

Edmunds says: An intriguing concept for time-crunched consumers.

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