Car e-tailer Vroom offers customers virtual reality test-driving experience in Scottsdale

Posted at 11:50 AM, Aug 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-26 22:24:31-04
We buy everything online, from our groceries to our mattresses, our electronics to our clothing. Some of us haven't seen the inside of a store dressing room in years. But what about our vehicles?  
Used car buying is a dreaded process for many, from looking under the hood to haggling and then financing. Is it even possible to do it all from the comfort of your own home? It is -- and without the wheeling and dealing.
Rick Solano, Vroom General Manager of Phoenix Retail, said it's simple.
"We're really giving people another option in car buying in general," Solano said. "You don't have all these car salesmen calling you. You don't have to go all to these different lots."
Online car retailer Vroom is just gearing up.  The company, founded in 2014, refurbishes newer used vehicles and sells them on its website. The company reported $110 million in revenue its first year; now it's on track to break $1 billion.
Its vehicles are priced an average of eight percent below market value, according to the company. There is no negotiating and it's delivered to your doorstep. Vroom offers free car delivery nationwide with a 90-day bumper-to-bumper warranty. Buyers have seven days to decide if they want to keep the vehicle. If you don't, returning it is free.  
"So you don't just get the chance to kick the tires.  You also get the chance to drive it, take the kids to school, go to the movies and really make it part of your family for the whole week," Solano said.  
The New York-based company is testing its first virtual reality showroom at a booth near the food court at Scottsdale Fashion Square. Goggles teleport potential customers into a giant warehouse with a variety of vehicles. The customer can "drive" the vehicles and even hear what the engine sounds like.
Vroom has also launched a major advertising campaign with billboards and a commercial featuring actors Rachel Dratch and John Leguizamo.  
Solano said the Valley was chosen as a test market because it's home to both the tech-savvy and car-loving demographics.     
"People need to be happy about buying cars," Solano said. "It's like people are half-excited (leaving a dealership) because they're happy to buy a new car, but in the back of their minds are thinking maybe I could've gotten a better deal."
IF YOU GO: Open until Sept. 28 at Scottsdale Fashion Square near the food court.