Autotrader Vs. eBay Motors

by Aaron Charles
EBay offers more product variety than does Autotrader.

EBay offers more product variety than does Autotrader.

Autotrader and eBay Motors offer an alternative to the conventional process of buying a new or used vehicle. Both of these online platforms cater to both local and national audiences, but they differ in the ways they aid buyers or sellers.

eBay Motors Overview

EBay Motors is one of two major platforms that eBay offers for buying and selling cars -- the other is eBay Classifieds, which functions more like Craigslist. EBay Motors, on the other hand, is an auction-style platform in the style of eBay's traditional site, but it's dedicated to buying and selling automobiles nationwide. In addition to cars and trucks, items featured on eBay Motors include RVs, boats, motorcycles, dune buggies, go karts, snowmobiles, scooters and personal watercraft.

Autotrader Overview

Autotrader is an online classifieds site rather than an auction platform. It has a comprehensive list of vehicles that includes photos, detailed information about the vehicle and seller information. It also reaches a national audience, but is tailored especially to local buyers and sellers. Company reps claim that the Autotrader site has the largest new and used vehicle inventory from dealers and private sellers. However, it doesn't carry the variety of items that eBay Motors offers. Instead, Autotrader, for the most part, limits its listings to cars, trucks, RVs and motorcycles.

Buying

Both eBay Motors and Autotrader give you the ability to do specified searches for the kind of vehicle you're looking for. The main difference between the two platforms is what happens when you want to take the next step. If you're ready to purchase a vehicle on eBay Motors, you'd make a bid if it's an auction-style listing, or you'd make an offer if it's a fixed-price listing. On Autotrader, you'd either email or call the seller and then go from there. Both eBay Motors and Autotrader have numerous services to help you through the buying process, such as pricing reports, vehicle histories and even financing.

Selling

Each platform has its own advantages for sellers. Autotrader offers a deluxe VIP service with which it sends a photographer to photograph your vehicle, and then has a consultant help you determine a listing price. The consultant also receives all phone calls of interested buyers and then passes necessary information on to you. Or you can opt for Autotrader's basic classified service. EBay, on the other hand, doesn't have a VIP service. But it does give you a step-by-step set of instructions to guide the selling process. Furthermore, eBay's auction style tends to excite buyers into action, according to an Edmunds.com article about eBay Motors.

About the Author

Aaron Charles began writing about "pragmatic art" in 2006 for an online arts journal based in Minneapolis, Minn. After working for telecom giant Comcast and traveling to Oregon, he's written business and technology articles for both online and print publications, including Salon.com and "The Portland Upside."

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images