Internet Paves the Way for Car Sales and Helps Lower Costs - VIDEO ENHANCED
*Editor’s note: This is a story from General Motors that may not be entirely true. As you’ll read and then see in the accompanying GM video clip, GM claims to have been the first auto manufacturer with a website (in 1996). We started working on The Auto Channel’s first website in the late Summer of 1995 for a Pennzoil presentation (the real old days, before Netscape browsers and Bill Gates’ conversion to Internet-ism). It seems to me that there were some other manufacturers already up and running before "GM BuyPower" in 1996.
So, the claim may be a bit of puffery, which wouldn’t be the first time for GM. I definitely recall GM & Buick claiming to have done the first live video introduction of a new vehicle on the Internet, in December 1996. But, we had already accomplished the feat two months prior, when we broadcast the Jaguar XK8 Intro from the Peterson Museum in Los Angeles (CLICK HERE to see it).
However, the basic premise of the story is correct: the Internet has had an incredible impact on the car buying business…especially thanks to us and a couple of other websites that forced the rest of the industry into providing COMPLETE information for FREE. Yes, there was a time when the automakers and dealers wanted to restrict details, limit Internet access, and charge for pricing info. Ha ha ha.
Anyway, enjoy the very nicely produced video package from GM, and remember what some forgotten Senator once said, "What’s good for General Motors, is good for the USA!"
Marc J. Rauch, Co-Publisher
Detroit - March 2, 2006: Ten years ago, the first car manufacturer Web site hit the Internet. Today, two-thirds of car buyers begin searching for a car on the web before ever setting foot in a dealership. How has the Internet changed car shopping?
Instead of depending on dealerships to provide information on cars, most car shoppers now come to dealerships armed with Internet research and are ready to close the deal.
General Motors introduced the first manufacturer’s Web site in 1996. The car maker has recently lowered prices on all of their models as a direct result of their customer’s ability to comparison shop on the Internet. Automakers say that their future success will be defined by how well they market on the Internet.
Click4Video of the GM story.