In the driver’s seat

First digital car-buying platform opens headquarters in Bensalem

Time to ‘gettacar’: Yossi Levi (left) and Jake Levin are the co-founders of gettacar, which recently opened its headquarters in Bensalem and is seeking to shake up the auto industry with a direct-to-door, digital experience for consumers. Samantha Bambino / Times Photo

Since the age of 14, Yossi Levi has been immersed in the auto industry, beginning his career by cleaning cars at Danis Auto Sales – his father’s used car lot located on Harbison Avenue in Philadelphia. After graduating from Temple University, Levi was promoted to president of Danis Auto, helping it grow from $3 million in sales to more than $30 million.

But toward the end of 2017, Levi realized something.

“One day, I just sat in our showroom and it dawned upon me that the process for selling a car was so inefficient and antiquated,” he said.

Levi decided he not only wanted to improve the process, he wanted to create something entirely new.

In January 2018, he approached his longtime friend Jake Levin, a Philadelphia native and former head of marketing of the snack delivery service goPuff, about launching an online car-buying experience for consumers.

This was the beginning of gettacar, which last week opened the doors to its headquarters, located at 3370 Progress Drive, Bensalem. The mission of the company, according to its co-founders, is to shake up the auto industry and bring it into the 21st century.

“It can be a pain. It can be pretty abrasive and uncomfortable,” Levin said of the car-purchasing process. “What we set out to do was make the car-buying experience more enjoyable, even fun, seamless. We felt like the way that people have been buying cars is super antiquated and it’s been the same for 50, 60 years. People should be able to have complete transparency into what they’re buying.”

Through gettacar, the days of spending endless hours in a dealership or fretting over getting “ripped off” are gone. Shoppers visit gettacar.com, which can be accessed on a phone or computer, and are asked to respond to a few questions about the type of car they’re seeking. Based on their answers, gettacar provides a recommendation, though users are welcome to browse the inventory of almost 400 vehicles.

“We try to have a good variety. Pretty much late models, so the last three or four years. You won’t see anything older than 2015, 2016, and mostly less than 40,000 miles. We don’t want to get into cars that potentially have issues,” Levin said. “We want to make sure that everyone who buys a car from us has a really good experience and they’re not constantly going to the mechanic or anything like that.”

Gettacar’s vehicles are acquired through auctions and trade-ins, and each gets taken to the company’s 75,000-square-foot reconditioning facility, where it’s fully inspected before being photographed and posted to the website.

When a consumer expresses an interest in purchasing a car, a gettacar representative drives it directly to their house in as little as 24 hours. Currently, the company delivers within a 100-mile radius of the Greater Philadelphia region. Once the car arrives, the consumer can test drive it in their neighborhood to determine if it’s a good fit. If they keep the car but later decide against it, gettacar has a free seven-day return policy. The company also offers a free warranty – if anything goes wrong, it will cover the expenses.

Of course, Levi and Levin understand that many car-buyers are hesitant to trust the unfamiliar digital model of gettacar.

“What we found is that consumers are still reluctant to make a purchase without actually talking to a real human. They don’t want to deal with a dealership, but they do still want to talk to someone,” said Levi.

In order to add a human touch to the gettacar experience, each customer is paired with a customer success hero – a newly-created position that acts as a personal concierge before, during and after the sale.

“It’s really meant to be someone that’s not there to sell you, rather to help you succeed,” Levi said, explaining how the customer success hero serves as a go-to for questions, concerns and information.

The pair is also utilizing Levin’s goPuff background to personalize the process.

“We try to make the experience as unique as possible, so when we do deliver the vehicle, instead of just dropping it off and saying, ‘Thank you very much,’ we customize it to our customer. We might find out that they like sports or the Eagles, and we’ll give them a jersey with their car. Someone was a big fan of bowling, so we gave them a gift card to the bowling alley,” Levin said. “We do something a little special for everyone because buying a car is a big deal. We want to make it feel like that. We don’t want to make it feel like a transaction to someone.”

So far, Levi said customers have been reacting positively to gettacar, which recently expanded into Baltimore, Maryland.

“You can tell it’s something that’s needed. Consumers are really demanding in the market, and we believe that the next 10 years is going to be a really transformative time for the automotive business. Long gone are the days where brick and mortar was your way into success in this business. It’s just not the case anymore,” he said. “It’s not about your physical presence anymore. It’s about the customer experience you can deliver. We don’t have a big, fancy showroom. It’s direct-to-your-door and it’s all on your time.” ••

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com