Arizona consumers in various parts of metro Phoenix who want to buy a new car can do so at their local Walmart, thanks to the new Live X Auto Exchange. The first two locations are in Chandler and Mesa, with two others planned in Phoenix and Surprise if the two-store pilot program is successful. Live X spokesperson Susan Forrest told AIM Group that there is no Walmart collaboration. Live X is simply renting space at the stores.

In response to the economy, Live X also introduced its Flex-Lease program in October, offering a rent-to-own format to auto buying.

“Our new Rent-to-Own product was designed to help people get moving again in this economy, while they either establish credit to begin with or perhaps work to rehabilitate tarnished credit,” said Live X founder Patrick Dial.

The basic Live X program includes limited engine and drive-train warranty, Walmart Tier & Lube Express services every 90 days, and vehicle theft protection. A Car-in-a Box Value Pack by Live X additionally incudes third-party insurance, credit protection and repair, roadside assistance, prepaid gas cards and more. Unlike the typical auto lease, Live X asks for commitments as short as four weeks, and a 3 day/500-mile exchange policy. Another option is zero interest, with all of the bi-weekly lease payments going towards the vehicle purchase.

Live X also has an online trading platform, with virtual trading assistants. The parent firm is Intelligent Service Group LLC.

Longtime clients of the AIM Group and Classified Intelligence would remember that Walmart dabbled briefly in the used-car market back in 2002. (See CIR 3.09, May 14, 2002.) The trial, in partnership with Cincinnati-based Asbury Automotive Inc., put 60-100 used cars on Walmart parking lots in several test markets, operating as Price 1 Auto and promising “no-haggle” prices under blue-book value.

The only marketing Walmart did was in-store posters. It didn’t draw the results Walmart was hoping for, and six months later the operation had vanished. Back then, with $200 billion in annual sales and almost 3,000 facilities worldwide, it could have been a contender in the used-car space. Instead, Walmart stuck to what it does best: Now with more than $400 billion in annual sales and more than 4,000 facilities worldwide, it’s hard to argue with its choices.

 

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