Groupon offers first-ever deal for car buyers

Groupon, the social media deal website/app that's racked up over 80 million members by offering 50-percent off your next hot stone massage or $10 off a large pizza from Mama Santos, is ready to start wheeling and dealing on more expensive products, namely cars.

This week the company offered its ever deal on a car: $199 for $500 off the purchase or lease of a vehicle. The catch is that the deal's only good at LaFontaine Auto in Detroit. Also, we hope you read the above closely, because the deal isn't $500 off the purchase or lease of a car, it's that you pay $199 to get $500 off, which means you're really only saving $301. And who's to say the dealer doesn't list the price of its cars a few hundred dollars higher to cover the cost of the deal? Mama Santos can't do that with her large pies; everybody in the neighborhood already knows how much they cost.

This is Groupon's first attempt at angling for car buyers, though. In this particular case, it only seems worth it if you were already planning to buy a car at LaFontaine Auto in Detroit. Otherwise, you're just saving a few hundred bucks to deal with someone new who may or may not give you the best deal on your new car purchase. In any case, we're more interested in what this means for the long-term – will Groupon make a more serious move into the auto buying space? Stay tuned.

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