Computerworld - General Motors Corp., in a bid to test a new online vehicle sales model, today unveiled the details of an ambitious pilot test it plans to launch in the nation's capital in two months.
Using the Web site of struggling online car broker Autobytel.com Inc., GM plans to offer online sales of its Chevrolet vehicle line through 22 dealers in the Washington area. The 90-day pilot, slated to begin May 1, is an effort by GM to capitalize on the popularity of the online car brokers that it once viewed as a competitive threat.
GM already allows consumers to search its inventories for GM models online through gmbuypower.com. The automaker wants to expand its online offering to include competitive shopping scenarios that include "all makes and models" of vehicles, officials said.
"If we can run the pilot in a market, like Washington D.C. with a broad product line like Chevy, then we'll have a pretty good indicator of our ability to do this in other markets and with other brands," said GM spokesman Pat Morrisey.
Detroit-based GM inked the deal to run the 90-day pilot off Irvine, Calif.-based Autobytel.com last month. But the world's largest automaker didn't disclose the locale or vehicle line that would be involved (see story).
During the test, car shoppers who log on to Autobytel's Web site will be able to view all the makes and models available through the site, but shoppers looking for vehicles in the Washington area will be able to purchase a vehicle from 22 participating Chevy dealers. They will also be offered a "no-haggle" price that will be determined by the participating dealers and posted on the Autobytel site, cutting out the usual haggling over the cost of cars, officials said.
"GM realizes that they need to be where the consumers are doing searches for information," said Rob Leathern, an analyst at Jupiter Research in New York.
Integrating GM's and its dealers' inventories has been a complex task from a technology and business standpoint, Leathern said. "They've been working a number of pilots and testing out the notion of an e-price in a discrete market," he said. "But they've been moving slowly. It's a big challenge from an integration perspective, and dealers are very independent and don't want to necessarily be told how to do their jobs."
GM has considered either buying an existing Web site or building one of its own to allow customers to shop for multiple makes and models of cars online. The automaker also proposed a joint venture with its dealers, called AutoCentric JV LLC,
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- EDI in China: Developing a Strategy for B2B Integration Success IBM solutions for EDI have helped companies across the globe securely connect and build partner communities.
- Pay-as-you-Grow Data Protection: IBM Tivoli's Full-featured Data Protection Suite for Small to Medium Businesses IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Suite for Unified Recovery gives small and medium businesses the opportunity to start out with only the individual solutions...
- Streamline Data Protection with IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Operations Center IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) has been an industry-standard data protection solution for two decades. But, where most competitors focus exclusively on Backup...
- Simplify and Consolidate Data Protection for Better Business Results Learn about IBM® Tivoli® Storage Manager Operations Center, which provides advanced visualization, built-in analytics and integrated workflow automation features that leapfrog traditional backup...
- Polycom Virtual Meeting Rooms Video The conference room is the hub for group collaboration. With Polycom, you can extend the productivity and efficiency benefits of face-to-face meetings beyond...
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well... All E-business White Papers | Webcasts