GM says a third of U.S. dealerships enrolled in online buying program

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DETROIT -- More than one-third of General Motors' dealerships have enrolled in GM's Shop-Click-Drive online car-buying program, the company said today.

GM made the tool available to its 4,300 dealerships starting in November after running a pilot in a handful of states. Shop-Click-Drive resides on individual dealership Web sites, allowing shoppers to choose a specific vehicle from inventory, get a price quote, review incentives and F&I products, apply for financing and get an estimate on a trade-in.

Chevrolet, Cadillac and Buick-GMC dealerships have sold 1,800 vehicles using the tool so far, GM said. The company began a pilot of the system in 2012.

Online buyers can schedule to pick up their vehicle either in the store, at home or at another pre-arranged destination. Less than 1 percent of buyers have taken possession of their vehicles without having visited a dealership, a GM spokeswoman said.

At Paddock Chevrolet in Kenmore, N.Y., near Buffalo, the Shop-Click-Drive tool generated 38 leads and 12 new and used sales this month through Thursday, owner Duane Paddock said.

"Early indications are that it's an effective tool to streamline solid leads," Paddock said.

GM executives have said that the program is intended to provide a convenience to customers and drive business to dealerships, rather than bypass dealers in the sales process.

Paddock said all of the 12 buyers that used the tool visited the store at some point during the process. Once a lead is generated through the tool, a sales person follows up to confirm a test drive or delivery appointment, he said.

"We control everything," he said.

You can reach Mike Colias at mcolias@crain.com.


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