Park and Click: How IMotors Works


Customers who call up the company’s Web site at fill out an online order form, specifying the year, mileage, color and options on the car they want, and are immediately given a price for that car and an estimate of how long it will take to find.

Dan Rucks was told 30 days for his hard-to-find RX-7--it actually took 36 days--whereas a high-volume car such as a white 1997 Honda Civic with 45,000 miles might only take a day or two to nail down.

IMotors’ buyers find cars and trucks at the monthly dealer-only used-vehicle auctions conducted throughout the country by the auto makers, rental companies and wholesale brokers.


The vehicles are then trucked to IMotors’ refurbishing plant in Elk Grove, Calif., where 130 mechanics, paint-and-body specialists and detailers spend an average of 30 hours inspecting, repairing and beautifying each vehicle. That sounds like a tremendous investment, but service director Mitchell Kudler says IMotors’ labor costs average only $18 an hour because of lower wage rates in the Sacramento suburb and because, unlike in a dealership, service and repair at IMotors are not viewed as profit centers.

There’s no markup for parts or labor, he said, because the costs were already factored into the selling price. If the company buys a car or truck that turns out to have hidden damage or electrical or mechanical problems too costly to repair, it is sent back to the auction company and the customer is given the choice of canceling the deal or directing IMotors to launch a new search.

When a vehicle is finished, it is detailed and trucked to the IMotors delivery center closest to the customer’s home or office. A delivery coordinator introduces the buyer to the vehicle, conducts a familiarization drive and presents the paperwork, already filled out, for the buyer’s signature. “The whole process takes about 20 minutes,” says Adam Simms, IMotors’ founder.