On January 13, General Motors announced it is creating a new online sales program for off lease, daily rental, and company owned cars. The program will include cars from Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac. It will begin next month with an initial inventory of 30,000 cars. It is modeled on GM’s Shop Click Drive online purchase program for new cars, which helped participating GM dealers sell more than 38,000 vehicles last year. That program began nationally two years ago. Today, it has 2,600 participating dealers, according to Detroit News.
The company says it is offering the new online service for pre-owned cars because more and more Americans prefer shopping online for their next vehicle. “It creates opportunity for our dealers, it creates opportunity for us,” GM President Dan Ammann said Wednesday during the 2016 Deutsche Bank Global Auto Industry Conference in Detroit. “GM is the first automaker to offer this service,” GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra told reporters Wednesday. “It’s another example of how we’re working to build our brands, improve residual values ,and earn customers for life, all to build shareholder value.”
Shoppers will be able to choose a vehicle online starting in early February at www.factorypreownedcollection.com. They can then select a participating GM dealer and use the same Shop Click Drive system available to new car customers to buy the used vehicle of their choice. GM is partnering with Kelley Blue Book so customers can compare prices of the vehicles they are interested in and see what others have paid for similar vehicles in the area.
All the cars will have less than 37,000 miles on them. The program includes a three day/150 mile exchange feature. Each car will also get a free three month trial of GM’s OnStar’s Guidance Plan. Chevy, Buick and GMC cars will come with an additional 12 month/12,000 mile factory bumper to bumper warranty that includes roadside assistance and free transportation. Cadillac buyers will get a 2 year/24,000 mile extended warranty.
Sharp people like those who read Gas 2 may have a few questions. First of all, how is this different that the Certified Pre=Owned online website begun by Tesla last year? And isn’t this just another way for the manufacturer to undermine the long tradition of franchised dealers, something Tesla has been trying to do since it started in business?
The General would never admit it, of course, but it looks like the Silicon Valley crowd has won anther round in the battle to disrupt business as usual in the car business.