Online shopping has definitely become a way of life in the recent years and many people think auto shopping should be added to those capabilities. The concept of heading to a dealership and going through the song and dance of buying a vehicle from a dealer in person seems…down right retro and outdated. If you agree with that feeling, you’ll be happy to know that GM plans to make the mandatory in-person dealership visit obsolete.
Online auto purchases only make sense. If you can buy the parts and accessories for your vehicle online, why can’t you buy the car itself?
General Motors is responding to this notion and has been secretly testing out a new internet service that would allow people to buy cars from a local dealership online. They have been calling this initiative the Shop-Click-Drive, and it is in the testing phase at about 100 dealerships around the United States.
On the webpage for this program, shoppers can browse through a selection of new car, gather price quotes, select the add-ons they want, apply for an auto loan/financing, and confirm their purchase. Some dealers will even deliver the customer’s new car purchase to their driveway.
Already a success, considering it’s quiet piloting, the program has processed 900 new car sales. By the end of the year, it will be available for use at all 4,300 GM dealerships in the United States.
A huge majority of American consumers already do research on cars inline before they buy, and many would be willing to purchase a car online. You can already basically do this with used cars and private sales, but the financial aspects are obviously quite different when you buy this way instead of new.
Currently, you can do a lot of the purchasing experience online, but this program takes it all the way from start to finish. The initiative is, in a big way, a push to get millennial to buy cars again.
Who would this benefit? Someone who already knows what car they want and who are willing to pay asking price for the model. It’s hard to envision negotiating a new car price online, but if you were able to interact with a sales manager before the purchase, it might be possible.
This program is also not going to work well for people who are undecided about what vehicle they want — and for those who want first hand confirmation that the actual car they’re buying isn’t problematic.
What’s semi-ironic is this might be the first step for major auto makers in adopting the Tesla sales models that allows people to visit a showroom, test drive a car, gather information, and then purchase the car online — something dealerships have been pushing hard to ban.
Would you buy a car sight unseen? And sign with a sales manager you’ve never met in person?
The concept seems fun, but might not actually be what people really even want. Most of us might even find ourselves heading to the dealerships anyways, given the option.