Like many dealerships, Pape Chevrolet in South Portland, Maine, is suffering from a deep drop in walk-in customers. But e-mail and telephone leads, Web site traffic and Internet search engine referrals have grown dramatically in the past 10 months.
Manny Mendes, the dealership's director of information technology, credits General Motors' new digital marketing program for dealers. Since Pape Chevrolet adopted the program, he says, its monthly average of leads from e-mail messages and phone calls has increased from 46 to 250.
"What stands out obviously is the increase in leads," Mendes told Automotive News.
GM and Chrysler LLC are working with suppliers to give dealerships new Web sites and other digital services aimed at attracting shoppers and converting them to buyers.