New Startup Roadster Wants to Haggle for Next-Gen Car Buyers

When salesmen become a hassle to deal with, an opportunity arises for customer-friendly business.

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It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a car. It’s also a truth universally acknowledged that buying a car sucks. The notion of sticker price and the guessing game/haggling session built into the current process is so unpleasant that many younger consumers simply avoid it. Enter Roadster, a startup that hopes to take advantage of the market inefficiency that is this guy:


Roadster is one of the startups that wants to help people skip the dealership. They charge customers $295 and collect a commission of up to 1.25 percent. In return, they find customers the cars they want, handle dealer negotiations, and deliver automobiles along with paperwork. In a sense it’s less of an “Uber but for…” than it is a “Seamless but for….”

While car-buying services aren’t anything new, the race to create a service that appeals to younger consumers is on. Roadster is trying to capture a growing market of first-time car buyers that has been hard to tap — presumably in part because of the way price negotiations proceed when the interested party understands how to use Google.

“This group of people want to shop by seeing all inventory online, getting fair, transparent pricing, and waiting at home for delivery,” said Roadster Chief Operating Officer Rudi Thun to the San Francisco Chronicle..

Roadster is an interesting company unto itself, but what may be considerably more interesting is the competition it generates among both startups and auto sellers. The status quo isn’t going to stand, which may mean salad days for the middle men for a while, but will eventually warrant industrial-scale change.

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