GM CEO Dan Akerson wants people to buy cars online image

GM spokeswoman Ryndee Carney announced that around 1,000 people purchased vehicles after using the Shop-Click-Drive system, although less than 10 used the app to make the buy without stepping into a dealership.

The pilot program, introduced about 10 months ago, allows around 100 dealers in eight states to sell cars on the web. The plan is to expand the program to all dealers by the end of this year.

“We want people to start buying cars over the Internet,” CEO Dan Akerson said on conference call focused on the company’s third-quarter earnings. He called it “a potential half-step away from our traditional channels.”

Akerson was quick to add that it “doesn’t mean we’re going to bypass our dealers.” “The dealers like it because they’re getting very high-quality leads and they’re closing these leads at a much higher rate than other third-party leads that they get from other sources,” Carney also said. “It’s not like Tesla at all.”

Larry Freed, CEO of Ann Arbor-based ForeSee, which monitors online consumer preferences, said GM’s idea “makes all the sense in the world” as buyers can get vast amounts of information about cars through online research. Akerson also said an improved online shopping experience would draw in younger buyers who spend most of their lives online.

Via Detroit Free Press