“We want people to start buying cars over the internet.” CEO Dan Akerson said in a conference call with industry analysts, reports the Detroit Free Press. Akerson noted the method was “a potential half-step away from our (General Motors) traditional channels.”
About 1,000 customers have bought GM vehicles through the Shop-Click-Drive pilot program launched in January of this year, but fewer than 10 used the program to buy a car without ever visiting a dealership. GM is currently testing the waters with the program, with only 100 dealers in eight states selling cars online. The plan is to extend the program to GM’s 4,300 dealers by the end of the year.
Unlike luxury electric automaker Tesla, GM’s online sales program does not bypass its dealers. Instead, customers can build a car to their desired specification using the program, arrange financing and schedule a test drive, but the sale will still be done through a local dealership.
This new way of buying cars is meant to appeal to a younger generation of car buyers, who research and browse the internet for hours before coming to buy a car.
“We’re trying to evolve, not only from an internal perspective but from an external perspective, to a more 21st-Century information-based marketing company,” said Akerson.