Google appears to be testing local car and auto dealership inventory in search results. The company has not commented on this news yet but you may be able to access local automobile inventory in the US by visiting google.com/local/cars.
What it looks like. When you visit google.com/local/cars, you’ll see a list of automobile inventory for local dealerships in your area. Here is a screenshot showing cars for sale in my area:
You can then filter the results to show new or used cars, the car brand, type and so on. The filters are not working 100% correctly, but that is okay since it seems to be something that Google is testing and has not yet announced.
Here is a screenshot of a specific car for sale, where you can see all the details and specs on this individual VIN. You can click on the image to enlarge:
More. This was first noticed by Jim Kreinbrink, who posted on Twitter that Google added these URLs to its robots.txt the other night.
Google statement. A Google spokesperson “last year, as part of our continued efforts to help connect businesses with potential customers, we began working with select car dealers and data providers in the U.S. to pilot new ways for dealerships to showcase their cars for sale directly on their Business Profiles in Search. We’ve heard from potential car buyers that surfacing this inventory information directly on Google helps them quickly explore and compare available cars, leading to more qualified leads for dealers. Dealers and related businesses can fill out a partner interest form if they’d like to learn more about this opportunity. The car inventory information is powered by feeds shared directly from dealers or their data providers. Google is not charging a fee for this feature.”
Why we care. Is Google going to be getting into the car dealership space, where Google will start selling cars directly to consumers? I doubt it. But this may be an early pilot with some dealerships to showcase their local inventory in the Google search results.
I expect we will hear official news from Google on how to get your local dealership to participate or if Google is just crawling inventory feeds from these local dealership websites. The formats of these feeds are normally the same across most dealerships anyway.