According to The Wall Street Journal (sub. req.),General Motors will be launching the Shop-Click-Drive program, which allows for selling cars through dealers online, enabling customers to bypass the showroom and order their vehicle from their computer. Right away, this plan sounds like it could be a hit with the Millennial generation.
We would also like to point out that GM Authority reported on the Shop-Click-Drive program a year ago.
Shop-Click-Drive is a web based application that will let GM customers build and price their new car, get an estimate of trade in value for their old car, apply for financing and arrange a test drive or delivery of a new vehicle. GM is hoping to win over a generation of tech savvy, car buying individuals with the new way of car shopping.
This system could be compared to that of electric automaker Tesla, who deals its cars exclusively through its website and a number company owned galleries. The strategy, while modern, has proven to be controversial, with certain state franchise laws protecting car dealerships from automotive companies selling directly to consumers.
GM’s Shop-Click-Drive app is different in that it does not follow in Tesla’s footsteps by eliminating the dealer altogether. The app is connected to GM’s 4,300 dealers, so while it may appear to the customer they are buying from GM, the app is actually running through local dealers.
That said, dealers are not required to participate in the new program, and GM officials say some dealers have already said they are not interested. Most dealers prefer to deal in face to face scenarios, making it easier to sell add ons such as extended warranties. WSJ also says that GM has pressured its dealers in the past to perform costly renovations of their stores, investments that could be rendered pointless if more customers decide to shop for a car online.
While other automakers have begun to look into this new way of doing business, GM is the first major company to bring it to the market. GM says its goal isn’t to replace dealers, but give their dealers an edge when trying to sell to a younger, more tech savvy demographic.
To date, 900 cars have been sold through the Shop-Click-Drive program. 100 dealers from Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Arizona have signed up so far through a pilot project launched in January.