DETROIT - General Motors dealers soon will have interactive kiosks on their showroom floors that give customers access to video information on vehicles and GM Web sites.
GM will introduce its 'interactive brand center' kiosks during the National Automobile Dealers Association convention Jan. 22-25 in Orlando, Fla., and make them available to dealers around September.
At the convention, GM also will unveil new standardized showroom accessories, including modular pamphlet racks and wall posters, for all of its divisions.
GM has yet to set a final price on the kiosks, but dealers likely will pay between $150 and $199 per month for each kiosk, said Gary Young, manager of brand-focused merchandising for GM's field support team in Detroit. The payments will be made over five years and include a full-service warranty.
The kiosks play interactive videodiscs showing vehicle information. Customers can navigate through the information using a track-ball mouse. Dealers also can connect the kiosks to the Internet and give their customers access to select Web sites.
Pontiac-GMC dealers have had similar interactive kiosks since 1998 at a cost of $199 per month. But those kiosks are not connected to the Internet and can only handle an hour of video. The new kiosks can store more than 10 hours of video, Young said.
Last January, GM consolidated the field staffs of its Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Oldsmobile and Pontiac-GMC divisions. As part of that reorganization, it put Young, formerly of Pontiac-GMC, in charge of improving and standardizing dealership showroom displays.
Young's goal is to make displays easier and more cost effective for GM dealers, particularly multifranchise dealers.
A lack of communication among the vehicle divisions over the years has resulted in a wide variety of displays. For example, a Buick-Pontiac-GMC dealer typically has three different information racks and vehicle posters, each with distinct dimensions and styles. Plus, each rack is built to hold different sized pamphlets and other vehicle information aids, such as color chip cards.
The cost of the displays for a dealer can be as high as $2,000 per division. Together on a showroom floor, the diverse displays 'look funny,' Young said.
The new modular racks can handle as many as four divisions and can be put together in several configurations. Young said the new displays will cost a dealer half as much.
With the new system, if a dealer adds another GM franchise, Young said, 'he doesn't have to buy a whole new display.'