Carvana Business Model: A Comprehensive Review

Welcome to our comprehensive review of Carvana’s innovative business model. In an ever-evolving auto retail industry, Carvana has emerged as a game-changer with its online car dealership and automotive e-commerce platform. By revolutionizing the car shopping experience and disrupting traditional buying practices, Carvana has established itself as a leader in digital car sales and used car sales online. Let’s delve into their unique business model and explore how they are transforming the way we buy cars.

Key Takeaways:

  • Carvana offers a seamless, digital-first approach to buying used cars online.
  • Their online car dealership disrupts traditional car buying practices.
  • Carvana revolutionizes the car shopping experience through innovation and convenience.
  • They have a strong presence in the auto retail industry as an automotive e-commerce platform.
  • Carvana’s innovative car buying process has reshaped the way consumers shop for cars.

History and Founders of Carvana

Carvana, the renowned online used car retailer, was founded in 2012 by Ernest Garcia III, Ryan Keeton, and Ben Huston. Ernest Garcia III, who comes from a family with deep roots in the automotive industry, kickstarted Carvana as a subsidiary of the DriveTime Automotive Group, founded by his father.

Initially, Carvana relied heavily on DriveTime as its source of used car inventory. However, as Carvana gained traction and developed its own identity, it eventually separated from DriveTime and became an independent entity. The founders’ knowledge and experience in the automotive industry played a crucial role in shaping Carvana’s unique business model and positioning it for success.

Carvana Founders

Name Role
Ernest Garcia III Co-Founder
Ryan Keeton Co-Founder
Ben Huston Co-Founder

Carvana’s Unique Business Model

In the auto retail industry, Carvana stands out with its unique business model that prioritizes online car buying and digital car sales. Unlike traditional brick-and-mortar dealerships, Carvana operates without any physical showrooms, offering customers a streamlined and convenient car buying experience from the comfort of their homes.

Through Carvana’s website or app, customers have access to an extensive inventory of used cars, enabling them to browse, compare, and choose their desired vehicle online. The entire buying process, from selecting a car to financing options and paperwork, can be completed digitally.

One key feature of Carvana’s business model is the use of online car vending machines. These automated structures, located in various cities across the United States, allow customers to pick up their purchased cars in a unique and convenient manner. By incorporating these vending machines, Carvana adds a touch of novelty to the car buying experience.

Key Features of Carvana’s Business Model:

  • No physical showrooms, operating entirely online
  • Access to a wide selection of used cars on Carvana’s website or app
  • Complete the buying process digitally, including financing and paperwork
  • Car vending machines for unique and convenient pick-up

This digital-first approach sets Carvana apart from traditional dealerships, providing customers with flexibility, convenience, and transparency throughout the entire car buying journey. Additionally, Carvana offers direct delivery of purchased vehicles, ensuring a hassle-free experience for their customers who prefer not to visit a physical location.

By revolutionizing the car buying process and embracing the power of technology, Carvana’s unique business model has reshaped the automotive retail industry, paving the way for a more efficient and customer-centric approach to buying used cars.

Growth and Expansion of Carvana

Carvana has experienced significant growth and expansion since its inception. They started with their first car vending machine in 2018 and have expanded to 34 car vending machines across the United States. This unique concept has garnered attention and increased Carvana’s brand presence.

In addition to the vending machines, Carvana offers nationwide delivery, allowing customers from all over the country to purchase cars from them. Their growth strategy focuses on expanding their market presence and reaching more customers through innovative approaches.

Car Vending Machines Across the US

Carvana introduced its first car vending machine in 2018, revolutionizing the car buying experience. Customers can now browse and purchase cars online and pick them up from these unique car vending machines. The machines are automated and provide an exciting and convenient way to receive a purchased vehicle.

The current count of 34 car vending machines across the United States highlights Carvana’s commitment to expanding their physical presence and offering customers a one-of-a-kind car buying experience.

Nationwide Delivery for Customer Convenience

Carvana understands the importance of convenience for car buyers. In addition to the car vending machines, Carvana offers nationwide delivery, eliminating geographical barriers and allowing customers from any corner of the country to purchase a car from the comfort of their own homes.

Customers simply browse Carvana’s extensive inventory online, complete the purchase process, and have the car delivered right to their doorstep. This convenient service enhances Carvana’s market presence and provides customers with a seamless and hassle-free car buying experience.

Carvana’s Acquisition of Other Companies

Carvana has strategically acquired companies to bolster its services and expand its capabilities. These acquisitions have positioned Carvana at the forefront of technological advancements in the auto retail industry and have allowed them to provide a better customer experience.

Calypso Acquisition

In 2017, Carvana made a significant acquisition by purchasing Calypso, a rival automobile startup. This strategic move aimed to improve Carvana’s analytical tools and vehicle data. By leveraging the expertise and resources of Calypso, Carvana has been able to enhance its data-driven decision-making processes and gain valuable insights into the used car market.

Car360 Acquisition

In 2018, Carvana acquired Car360, a startup known for its expertise in 3D computer vision and augmented reality (AR) technology. This acquisition aimed to enhance Carvana’s image improvement capabilities, allowing them to provide customers with immersive and interactive experiences when browsing and evaluating their inventory online. The advanced visual technology provided by Car360 has enabled Carvana to showcase high-quality images of their cars, improving the transparency and reliability of their online car shopping experience.

These strategic acquisitions have allowed Carvana to stay ahead of the competition by incorporating cutting-edge technologies into their platform. By leveraging the expertise and resources of acquired companies like Calypso and Car360, Carvana has been able to continually innovate and provide customers with a seamless and exceptional car buying experience.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Carvana

The COVID-19 pandemic presented challenges for the auto industry, but Carvana was able to adapt and thrive during this time. They introduced touchless delivery and pick-up options, allowing customers to complete the entire car purchase process without direct contact with employees. This move resulted in a 25% increase in vehicle sales and a 13% increase in gross revenue for Carvana. Their emphasis on digital car buying and contactless transactions positioned them well during the pandemic and contributed to their success.

The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the automotive industry, with sales and dealership operations disrupted due to lockdowns and social distancing measures. However, Carvana’s innovative approach and commitment to customer safety enabled them to navigate these challenges effectively. By offering touchless delivery and pick-up options, Carvana addressed the concerns of potential buyers who preferred contactless transactions.

Carvana’s touchless delivery and pick-up options allowed customers to complete their car purchases entirely online, eliminating the need for in-person interactions and reducing the risk of virus transmission. This approach proved to be highly successful, as customers appreciated the convenience and safety it offered. As a result, Carvana experienced a surge in vehicle sales, with a 25% increase during the pandemic.

Increased Vehicle Sales and Revenue

The implementation of touchless delivery and pick-up options during COVID-19 had a significant positive impact on Carvana’s sales and revenue. The convenience and safety of digital car buying resonated with customers, leading to increased demand for Carvana’s services. This resulted in a substantial 25% increase in vehicle sales, highlighting the effectiveness of their touchless approach.

In addition to increased vehicle sales, Carvana also experienced a 13% increase in gross revenue. The seamless digital car buying experience and contactless transactions attracted new customers and solidified Carvana’s position as a leader in the industry.

Embracing Digital Car Buying

Carvana’s success during the pandemic can be attributed to its emphasis on digital car buying. While traditional dealerships faced challenges due to physical restrictions, Carvana’s online platform enabled them to continue serving customers effectively. By leveraging their digital infrastructure, they ensured a smooth and hassle-free car buying process.

Customers could browse Carvana’s extensive inventory, complete the necessary paperwork, and finalize their purchases from the comfort of their homes. The introduction of touchless delivery and pick-up options added to the convenience and safety of the digital car buying experience, further boosting Carvana’s appeal.

Positioned for Future Success

The pandemic highlighted the importance of digital transformation in the auto industry. Carvana’s ability to adapt quickly and provide contactless services positions them well for the future. As consumer preferences continue to shift towards digital car buying, Carvana’s established presence in the online marketplace gives them a competitive advantage.

Carvana’s success during the pandemic demonstrates the effectiveness of their business model and their commitment to customer satisfaction. By focusing on touchless delivery, increased vehicle sales, and digital car buying, Carvana solidifies its position as an industry leader and sets the stage for continued growth and innovation.

Revenue Streams of Carvana

Carvana employs several revenue streams to support its operations and drive profitability. These streams include:

  1. Retail Car Sales: Carvana’s primary source of revenue comes from selling used cars directly to customers through its online platform. By offering a wide selection of vehicles and a seamless buying process, Carvana has gained a significant market share in the online used car sales industry.
  2. Wholesale Car Sales: In cases where vehicles do not meet Carvana’s strict inspection standards for retail sales, they are sold to other dealerships through wholesale channels. This allows Carvana to maximize the utilization of its inventory and generate additional revenue.
  3. Financing: Carvana offers financing options to customers, enabling them to purchase vehicles through installment plans. These financing options not only facilitate the sales process but also generate revenue for Carvana through interest rates and fees.
  4. Vehicle Service Protection: Carvana provides customers with the option to purchase vehicle service protection plans, which offer extended warranties and coverage for repairs and maintenance. These service protection plans contribute to Carvana’s revenue through the sale of contracts.
  5. Insurance: Carvana also offers insurance options to customers, including auto insurance policies. By partnering with insurance providers, Carvana earns revenue through insurance premiums from policyholders.

These revenue streams collectively contribute to Carvana’s overall financial performance and support its position as a leading player in the online used car sales industry.

Revenue Streams Overview

Revenue Streams Description
Retail Car Sales Sales of used cars directly to customers through Carvana’s online platform.
Wholesale Car Sales Sales of vehicles to other dealerships when they don’t meet Carvana’s inspection standards.
Financing Offering financing options to customers, generating revenue through interest rates and fees.
Vehicle Service Protection Sale of extended warranty contracts and service protection plans for additional coverage.
Insurance Providing insurance options, including auto insurance policies, generating revenue from premiums.

Ownership and Shareholders of Carvana

Carvana, the leading online used car retailer, has a unique ownership structure. The company is primarily owned by institutional shareholders, who hold a majority stake in the company. These institutional shareholders include renowned investment firms such as Price T. Rowe Associates Inc., Baillie Gifford Co., Vanguard Group Inc., Cas Investment Partners LLC, Spruce House Investment Management, and Fmr LLC.

One of the key individual shareholders is Ernest Garcia II, the father of Carvana’s founder. Ernest Garcia II owns a significant percentage of Carvana’s shares, making him the largest individual shareholder. This ownership structure demonstrates the confidence and support the company has garnered from both institutional investors and key individuals.

Below is a comprehensive summary of Carvana’s major shareholders:

Shareholder Ownership Percentage
Price T. Rowe Associates Inc. 9.6%
Baillie Gifford Co. 7.5%
Vanguard Group Inc. 5.8%
Cas Investment Partners LLC 4.7%
Spruce House Investment Management 4.7%
Fmr LLC 4.0%
Ernest Garcia II Owning a significant percentage

Carvana’s ownership structure reflects the confidence of institutional investors in the company’s business model and growth potential. The support from key individuals, such as Ernest Garcia II, further strengthens Carvana’s position in the online used car market.

Leadership Team at Carvana

Carvana’s success is driven by a strong leadership team that guides the company’s strategic direction and ensures the seamless execution of its innovative business model. Led by founder and CEO Ernest Garcia III, the leadership team brings together a wealth of experience and expertise in the automotive industry.

Ryan Keeton serves as Carvana’s Chief Brand Officer, responsible for developing and implementing effective branding and marketing strategies. With his deep understanding of the industry and consumer behavior, Keeton plays a crucial role in establishing Carvana as a trusted and recognizable brand in the online car dealership space.

Ben Huston, the Chief Operating Officer at Carvana, oversees the operational aspects of the business. With his focus on efficiency and process optimization, Huston ensures that Carvana’s operations run smoothly and effectively. His strong leadership and operational expertise contribute to the company’s continued growth and success.

The collaboration and synergy among Ernest Garcia III, Ryan Keeton, and Ben Huston provide a solid foundation for Carvana’s ongoing expansion and disruption of the traditional car buying experience.

Name Executive Role
Ernest Garcia III Founder and CEO
Ryan Keeton Chief Brand Officer
Ben Huston Chief Operating Officer

Carvana’s Future and Market Outlook

Carvana, with its digital-first approach, is poised to continue growing and reshaping the auto retail industry. As more consumers embrace online car shopping, Carvana is at the forefront of the rapidly growing trend of digital car sales. Their ability to adapt and innovate has positioned them for success in the future.

The auto retail industry is undergoing a significant transformation, with customers seeking convenience and transparency in their car buying experience. Carvana’s online platform and seamless purchasing process meet these evolving customer expectations, making them a key player in the market.

Market trends indicate a continued shift towards digital car sales as more consumers appreciate the convenience of browsing and buying cars online. Carvana’s streamlined approach, combined with their extensive inventory and nationwide delivery options, allows them to capture a larger market share in this growing segment.

As the traditional brick-and-mortar dealerships face challenges in adapting to the changing landscape, Carvana’s digital car buying model gives them a competitive advantage. Their unique business model, which eliminates the need for physical showrooms, reduces overhead costs and allows for greater flexibility in meeting customer demands.

Market Growth and Disrupting Traditional Car Buying

Carvana’s future looks promising as they continue to disrupt traditional car buying practices. Their success in capturing a significant market share and expanding their business model demonstrates their ability to challenge existing norms.

By leveraging technology and embracing digital solutions, Carvana is well-positioned to revolutionize the auto retail industry. As consumers become increasingly comfortable with online purchasing, Carvana’s user-friendly platform and commitment to transparency and customer service will continue to attract new customers.

Carvana's Future

The future of the auto retail industry belongs to companies like Carvana that have embraced the digital revolution and embraced the convenience and efficiency it offers. Through their innovative approach to car buying, Carvana is reshaping the industry and paving the way for a new era of automotive e-commerce.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Carvana

Carvana, the digital car buying platform, possesses several strengths that have propelled its success in the auto retail industry. Its innovative business model, strong brand presence, and convenient online platform are key factors that set it apart. Carvana offers a seamless car buying experience through its user-friendly website and app, making it easy for customers to browse, select, and purchase used cars digitally. The company prioritizes customer experience, ensuring transparency and providing exceptional service throughout the buying process.

Moreover, Carvana’s strengths are also reflected in its unique approach to inventory management. By sourcing cars from various channels, including auctions, trade-ins, and partnered dealerships, Carvana maintains a wide selection of used vehicles. This extensive inventory caters to diverse customer preferences and increases the likelihood of finding the desired car.

However, Carvana faces certain weaknesses that influence its competitive position in the market. One notable weakness is its limited physical presence compared to traditional dealerships. While Carvana has car vending machines in select cities, its nationwide coverage is not as extensive as brick-and-mortar dealerships. This can pose a challenge for customers who prefer a hands-on experience or those who want to test drive a car before making a purchase.

Additionally, managing a large inventory of used cars presents complexities for Carvana. Ensuring the quality and condition of each vehicle requires meticulous inspection and maintenance processes. While Carvana has implemented robust measures to maintain the integrity and reliability of its inventory, the sheer volume of cars poses logistical and operational challenges.

In summary, Carvana’s strengths lie in its innovative business model, strong brand presence, and convenient online platform. These strengths enable a seamless digital car buying experience and exemplary customer service. However, the company faces weaknesses in terms of limited physical presence and the management of a large inventory. By addressing these weaknesses and leveraging its strengths, Carvana can continue to excel in the digital car sales market.


Carvana’s disruptive business model has revolutionized the traditional car buying experience, offering customers a convenient and transparent digital platform to purchase used cars online. By eliminating the need for physical showrooms and introducing innovative features like car vending machines, Carvana has successfully transformed the way people shop for cars.

With a strong market presence and continued growth, Carvana has revolutionized the auto retail industry. Their digital-first approach, combined with a focus on convenience, transparency, and exceptional customer service, has set them apart from traditional brick-and-mortar dealerships. Through their seamless online platform, Carvana has redefined the car buying process, making it easier and more enjoyable for consumers.

As a leader in the online car dealership space, Carvana is poised to continue disrupting the industry and shaping the future of car shopping. Their commitment to innovation and expanding their offerings positions them well for sustained success. Carvana’s business model has not only revolutionized the car shopping experience but has also set a new standard for others to follow in the ever-evolving automotive e-commerce industry.


What is Carvana’s unique business model?

Carvana operates as an online car dealership, revolutionizing the traditional auto retail industry. They have no physical showrooms and offer a seamless, digital car buying process through their website and app.

How does Carvana’s online car buying process work?

Customers can browse through a wide selection of used cars on Carvana’s website or app, complete the entire buying process digitally, and have the car delivered directly to their doorstep.

Does Carvana have physical locations?

While Carvana does not have traditional showrooms, they have car vending machines located in various cities across the United States, where customers can pick up their purchased cars in a unique and convenient manner.

How has Carvana expanded its market presence?

Carvana has expanded its presence by increasing the number of car vending machines to 34 across the United States and offering nationwide delivery, allowing customers from all over the country to purchase cars from them.

What strategic acquisitions has Carvana made?

Carvana has made strategic acquisitions, including Calypso in 2017 to enhance analytical tools and vehicle data, and Car360 in 2018 to improve image improvement capabilities through 3D computer vision and AR tech.

How did Carvana adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Carvana introduced touchless delivery and pick-up options, allowing customers to complete the entire car purchase process without direct contact with employees. This move resulted in increased vehicle sales and gross revenue for Carvana.

How does Carvana generate revenue?

Carvana generates revenue through retail car sales, wholesale car sales, financing options, vehicle service protection, and insurance offerings.

Who are the main shareholders of Carvana?

Carvana is primarily owned by institutional shareholders, with Ernest Garcia II, the father of Carvana’s founder, being the largest individual shareholder.

Who are the key leaders at Carvana?

Carvana is led by founder and CEO Ernest Garcia III, with Ryan Keeton serving as the Chief Brand Officer and Ben Huston as the Chief Operating Officer.

What is the future outlook for Carvana?

Carvana is well-positioned for future growth as more consumers embrace online car shopping. With their digital-first approach and innovative business model, they are poised to reshape the auto retail industry.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of Carvana?

Carvana’s strengths include their innovative business model, strong brand presence, and convenient online platform. However, they have limited physical presence compared to traditional dealerships and face challenges in managing a large inventory of used cars.

Can Carvana revolutionize the car shopping experience?

Yes, Carvana’s digital-first approach, convenient online platform, and customer-centric focus have disrupted the traditional car buying process and revolutionized the car shopping experience.