GM offers customizing via Web Models can be priced with varying options

Auto industry

September 03, 1997|By KNIGHT-RIDDER NEWS SERVICE

Internet users soon will be able to customize their next new car or truck via the World Wide Web.

General Motors Corp. will be the first automaker to enable Web users to price a vehicle with specific options via its divisional Website. Currently available on the Chevrolet division Website, GM plans to have the feature for all of its divisions by midmonth.

The technology, called the interactive configurator, had been found only at dealership locations.

"What is available on the divisional Websites is information that previously had been available only to dealers and organizations with massive databases," said Phil Guarascio, GM's vice president of North American Operations Marketing and Advertising. "Our objective is to offer users convenience and value, not to wow them with technological gadgets."

The interactive configurator is geared toward those consumers who might want to visit a dealership, but would be interested in investigating what is available in the marketplace.

"The configurator was developed for the consumer who is about six weeks out from buying a vehicle," said Karen Ritchie, executive vice president and managing director of GM Mediaworks. "This application gives them the information they need to help them with their purchase."

GM is making this move at a time when it is critical for automakers to find innovative ways to market their vehicles.

With Microsoft Corp. recently announcing the expansion of CarPoint, the firm's automotive purchasing operations on the Web, automakers feel increased pressures to improve their Internet presence.

CarPoint offers Internet users vehicle pricing information (including dealer invoice cost), photography, video showrooms and articles on various automotive topics. CarPoint users can buy the vehicle of their choice on line.

Pub Date: 9/03/97

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