A New Startup Aims to Change the Way Cars Are Sold

Aims tred

Customers want to cut down on the number of hours they spend in the showroom. Dealerships want to differentiate themselves from competitors and turn more test drives into sales. The answer may be a new online startup called Tred launched in the Seattle area last week. The service is slated to eventually be offered in other cities too.

Online businesses often eat into brick and mortar business profits. Amazon’s impact on brick and mortar retailers comes to mind. But the team behind Tred claims the service will improve sales for local dealerships too.

The company delivers vehicles from local dealerships to a potential buyer’s door for $19 per test drive and an undisclosed payment from the dealership, Reuters reports.

Tred employees deliver the car and go for the test drive with the potential buyer. They also provide a packet with a checklist of information intended to decrease the amount of time spent at the dealership should the potential customer decide to buy.

Tred also provides the buyer with a suggested retail price, online prices from sources like Kelley Blue Book and TrueCar and the dealer’s no-haggle price.


In some ways, Tred’s approach reverses the concept of “showrooming” where customers shop at brick and mortar retailers only to purchase the items they see for less money online.

Instead, the company is seeking to increase the likelihood customers will buy from their local dealership clients.

Tony Rimas, a principal with Fraser McCombs, Tred’s largest shareholder, believes the service will help convert customers to buyers because prospects who order test drives through the site will be more likely to purchase.

The company will initially work with 30 dealerships in the Seattle area. Tred raised an initial $100,000 in funding from former GM CEO Rick Wagoner and an additional $1.7 million from several private equity firms.

Do you think Tred will boost sales for smaller car dealerships? What ideas does Tred give you for filling a need with your business?

Images: Tred


Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Editor for Small Business Trends and the Head of Content Partnerships. A journalist with 20 years of experience in traditional and online media, he is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. He founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press, covering his hometown.

2 Reactions
  1. Thanks for the info on this new startup.

    In a previous life i was in the car business-automobile franchise management.

    On the surface, it sounds like a pretty good idea. Maybe.

    But, it won’t work unless the car buyer feels like he or she got a good deal…at their local dealership.

    Car shoppers are a finicky bunch. I’ve experienced (first-hand) shoppers drive 45 minutes or more to save $2.00 a month on a payment. It still happens.

    I hope this works…for many reasons.

    People should by their vehicles from their local franchise. Not all the way across town.

    The Franchise King®

  2. The idea might sound effective and interesting but I don’t think it’s going to run for a longer time. The reason is pretty simple as said by the above person in the comment. People still want to save that $2 and would like to visit the showroom for a free test drive that to pay $19 per test drive. Well that’s my thought actually.