General Motors says it is responding to the marketplace reality that more customers want to shop for cars online. To accommodate that growing group, the automaker debuts a used-car version of its Shop-Click-Drive initiative.
GM touts the new program as helping consumers and expediting their car shopping. The flip is it also will facilitate car selling – particularly the retailing of waves of vehicles coming off lease and entering the used-car market.
Auto remarketers are turning to an assortment of channels to dispose of 3 million off-lease vehicles in 2016. That includes online dealer auctions that, by their digital nature, attract more wholesale bidders than physical auctions do.
Accordingly, GM’s new initiative draws more retail prospects to what the automaker calls a “huge inventory of pre-owned, low-mileage vehicles available online.”
In addition to off-lease vehicles, the so-called Factory Pre-Owned Collection national inventory will include former daily-rental and company-owned vehicles with odometer readings.
“GM is already a leader in online new car shopping with our Shop-Click-Drive service, and we are expanding it with the Factory Pre-Owned Collection, making GM the first automaker to offer this choice to consumers,” CEO Mary Barra says in a statement.
She adds: “We know that many of our customers who are shopping for a used car want to complete more of the process online, and that number is growing.”
On the other hand, Shop-Click-Drive has not been a runaway hit since its 2013 debut. It is more niche than mainstream. Essentially, it is a lead generator for participating dealers. Digital shoppers are directed to them from GM-supported websites.
The number of users isn’t particularly high, but they are considered quality leads and “what excites the brass in Detroit is that 52% are conquests,” Jim Bement, manager of the initiative, says at a recent automotive conference.
Likewise, GM North America President Alan Batey alludes to brand conquesting with the used-car version of Shop-Click-Drive. He says it “introduces new buyers to our brands.”
GM says consumers can use the Kelley Blue Book Fair Market Range to compare suggested prices on the Factory Pre-Owned Collection website. The automaker says the upcoming online shopping is a 3-step process:
- Browse the inventory to find a vehicle.
- Choose a participating GM dealer and reserve the vehicle by using Shop-Click-Drive.
- Finalize the purchase and take delivery of the vehicle from the selected dealer who makes the arrangements for procuring the unit.