Here’s a little scenario for your Thursday morning:
You have decided you’d like to consider the purchase of a Cadillac ATS. You like it because it’s built on the same platform as the Chevrolet Camaro and you’d like to experience the car first-hand before making your final decision.
It’s been a long time since you’ve driven a Cadillac and you’re excited to see how far the brand’s cars have progressed since the days of your grandfather’s Seville.
You head to your local dealer after doing hours of online research only of find…
A touchscreen where you can do more online research, but no cars to test drive.
Believe or not, that’s a real plan proposed by Cadillac.
According to Automotive News,
Cadillac is encouraging more than 400 of its lowest-volume U.S. dealerships — mostly dual Chevrolet or Buick-GMC stores that sell 50 or fewer new Cadillacs a year — to voluntarily adopt “virtual showrooms.” Those dealerships would not stock Cadillac vehicles on their lots. Instead, sold orders would be expedited from regional inventory centers, Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen said.
Those virtual showrooms would include touch screens and perhaps even virtual-reality experiences. Salespeople would even be able to travel to a prospective customer’s home or work and allow him or her to experience the brand through technology.
Since smaller Cadillac dealers can’t afford to have devoted showrooms for the luxury brand, de Nysschen believes that potential customers aren’t getting the desired brand experience. Instead, they are being disregarded in favor of people interested in hot-selling GM trucks. His solution is to create the desired experience digitally, which he hopes will translate into a competitive edge for dealers and result in more Cadillac sales.
Except he seems to have forgotten that people like to experience the actual car before making a purchase. Audi and BMW dealers tend to have cars in stock and available to drive, which, one would think, is more of a competitive edge than a fancy touchscreen.
Would you buy a car based off a virtual-reality experience?