General Motors expands online car sales program - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

General Motors expands online car sales program

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(10/08/13) - For the past year, many General Motors dealers in Mid-Michigan have experimented with selling new cars and light trucks online. The program has been so successful that the automaker is taking it nationwide.

It's a process nearly as old as the auto industry itself. To buy a new car you would sit down with a salesperson and hammer out your best deal. But customers are changing.

"They like the convenience of shopping online. They can do all of their research online. They don't necessarily have to deal with a salesperson. They educate themselves and actually come in and take delivery of their vehicle with everything done," said Melissa Franklin, Suski Chevrolet-Buick Internet manager.

GM's online program, called Shop, Click and Drive, allows customers to buy from a participating dealerships website. They can pick out a vehicle, get a trade-in estimate, complete a credit app, consider warranties and arrange for delivery of the car. Simms Chevrolet in Clio has now sold six cars that way.

"They're looking in this day and age to squeeze out more of the day than ever before because we seem to be filled up with so many things to do now," said Jim Simms, of Simms Chevrolet.

About 100 dealers in eight states, including Michigan, have been participating in Shop, Click and Drive. While it hasn't created a huge amount of sales, it does show promise.

"They can purchase anything online, so why not a vehicle, especially with the younger generation who really don't want to come into the store," Franklin said.

After a customer locates a car online, they can specify which dealer they want it delivered to.

"You don't have to be a large store to carry a large inventory. We actually have access to a lot more than we have on the grounds," Simms said.

If during the process the computer seems too impersonal, customers can always log off and go back to the old time-tested way a buying a car.

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