Buy New Car Using Web Site as a Social Piggy Bank

November 28, 2009/Steve Tackett

MOTOR MATTERS DOWN THE ROAD BY CHERYL JENSEN

Need a new car instead of a pair of socks for Christmas?
Harness the power of the social media at motozuma.com to sign up for the new car of your dreams and ask friends and family to contribute. Although the site is targeting consumers saving up for their first new car, it can work for anyone — but only for a new-car purchase. It works somewhat like a bridal registry.
After you open an account, you have access to tools that help you create a customized profile page to showcase the vehicle you would like to buy. Then you can create a marketing campaign using e-mails and posts to Facebook or Twitter to ask for contributions.
Chris Wire, CEO of motozuma.com said these tools will help you to say: “Hey Grandma, rather than tube socks and a Neil Diamond CD for Christmas, I’d really like to have you contribute $25 to my Motozuma account for my first new car.”
The site, which launched in late October, has attracted more than 3,000 registered users in three weeks, Wire said.
Motozuma.com has 43 participating brands that range from Acura and Aston Martin to Volkswagen and Volvo — even Ferrari and Tesla.
At this point, Hyundai is the only one offering to match contributions up to $500 as part of the site’s Manufacturer’s Match program. But, Wire says, the intention is to have many more do so. The Hyundai offer currently expires on December 31, 2010, but other manufacturers are interested, Wire said.
There are no sign-up or service fees, however, if you decide you don’t want a car, there is a $25 fee to cover the costs of returning the money.
“They save money and when it comes time to make the purchase those funds that they’ve saved or been gifted are all transferred electronically to the dealer at the close of sale,” Wire said.
All funds are held by Chase bank and you receive no interest. Motozuma uses that money to cover all the credit card, bank and transaction fees it has to pay.
Why not just buy a car the old-fashioned way by putting checks people give you on various occasions into your existing savings account?
“This gives people tools to help ask for what they want. Especially younger generations right now are very open to that idea of asking for what they want…. Gift registrations and things like that have changed the dynamics of gift-giving, so we felt that this site gave people those tools,” he said.
Wire said that with interest rates for savings accounts so low the matching funds from the automaker are the better deal, although right now only Hyundai is doing the matching.
Currently all contributions have to be made by credit or debit card, Wire said. But the company is getting ready to add the option of direct transfers from checking accounts.
The site has an Affordability Calculator to help calculate how much car you can afford, and a Personal Goal Tracker that allows you to establish your savings goal, set a deadline and track your contributions. At the bottom of the Home page, check out “Terms and Conditions” and “Help” for answers to many questions.
So, with the holidays approaching, select your dream car, create a page to profile that car, post blogs about your progress and watch your savings grow. When someone asks you what gift you want, you won’t have to say, “I don’t know.” — by Cheryl Jensen, Motor Matters

Copyright, Motor Matters, 2009