Training should become less expensive for DaimlerChrysler's dealers and field organization when the company launches its DaimlerChrysler Academy Web site this year.
The training will be required for dealership technicians, service advisers, sales consultants, parts personnel and managers.
The new Internet-based training system will be tested with dealers in the Washington zone beginning Sept. 20. National rollout is expected during the fourth quarter.
DaimlerChrysler has combined its dealer and field organization training in the DaimlerChrysler Academy.
Previously, training was offered through a variety of channels, said Luis Martinez, DaimlerChrysler senior manager of sales process and product launch.
'We're not creating a whole new set of training,' Martinez said. 'Rather, DaimlerChrysler Academy unifies all our training efforts. It will make it cleaner for the dealer.'
The DaimlerChrysler Academy will have a new Web site that will give dealers and field personnel access to training courses.
Internet-based training is easier to use and is more flexible than a satellite broadcast, said Robert Williams, director of D/C's product launch and retail process group.
Training can be accessed from the password-protected Web site at any time from any computer with Internet capability, Williams said.
Most of DaimlerChrysler's dealer and field training - 78 percent - now is done off-site. Another 15 percent of training is conducted with CD-ROM in the dealership, and the remaining 7 percent is a live training presentation in the dealership.
With the new Internet-based system, DaimlerChrysler says it will reduce dealer off-site training 42 percent, saving dealers $120 million annually in training costs and lost productivity.
The new system will increase the amount of training on computer, replacing the current CD-ROM method with the new Web site system, Williams said. The Web site uses both digital video disk and CD-ROM interactive technology.
More training courses will be offered. For instance, workshops will be available for dealerships on servicing Internet-savvy customers.
Many dealers already have the necessary computer hardware, but some do not. Dealers will be able to buy the needed hardware from IBM in late November. Williams said DaimlerChrysler has been working with IBM to develop a national purchase agreement to provide an upgraded computer at 'a really good price' for dealers.