DETROIT -- Chrysler Group is about to encourage dealership salespeople to play video games during downtime.
But not to waste time.
The automaker has created four video games to help salespeople learn the fine points of Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Ram vehicles.
"If you look at the typical day inside a dealership, it begs for short, small bites of learning," said John Fox, Chrysler's director of dealer training. "If we can shrink that gap between the top performer and the bottom performer, that's going to help us continue to increase sales."
Salespeople have training requirements that often take them away from the sales floor. If they fail to complete that training, their incentives can be in jeopardy. If those training requirements can be met in short, effective spurts through well-designed games, everyone benefits, Fox said.
The games are being tested in a small number of dealerships and should be available nationwide around the first of the year. They are available on Apple platforms. Android and Windows versions will come later.
The games, one for each brand, work largely like standard timed trivia games. Questions about product details are displayed, and the player is awarded points for choosing the correct answer from four choices.
Players can compete with others in their dealerships, in teams against other dealerships or individually in contests across the country.
Keith Yancy, a senior manager for creative direction and instructional design at Chrysler, said the automaker's dealer training program will maintain national leader boards for each of the games and award prizes for salespeople who compete.
Yancy said gaming can be an effective way for the brain to learn details that might be lost in the traditional ways automakers have trained salespeople: the three-ring binder and multiple-choice questions.
"Dealers don't want to send people out for three or four days of training. But if we can get some of that training, in smaller amounts, and make it available on-demand," that's better for everyone, Yancy said.
Fox said: "We want our folks to be ready when that live customer walks in, and this provides a safe place to practice. You can fail here and not cost the dealer any money."