A[nother] different kind of car company. A[nother] different kind of car. Apparently, as it once did with its Saturn division, General Motors is again fiddling with the tried-and-true dealership sales model by creating two separate new test programs that would potentially offer a low-pressure car buying environment.

One of them, a so-called Test Drive Studio, would be a "permanent or semi-permanent, minimally branded, brick-and-mortar" facility that would first appear in Chevrolet-centric areas such as Miami, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Chicago. Included amongst the newfangled features would be test drives in the Chevy Malibu, Traverse and Equinox, followed by their main competition. "May the Best Car Win," indeed.

According to Steve Tihanyi, general director for marketing services, alliances and branded entertainment, "It's a non-threatening environment. It's not pressure-filled; you can drive all the right competitive products against the [vehicles]. If you take Malibu as an example, we will also have vehicles like Camry, Accord, Ford Fusion, or Taurus, so you get a really good cluster of vehicles to experience at your own pace."

Also new will be a competitive test-drive program that will run concurrently with auto shows in 30 markets all around the United States. "One thing we know about auto shows is a lot of people who come will be in market in zero to 12 months," says Tihanyi.

To go along with the new dealership test model, GM will start a digital marketing campaign in each of the four aforementioned test markets, targeting buyers currently shopping for vehicles in GM's competitive markets. Says Tihanyi, "So, hypothetically, if you are on Edmunds.com and shopping a Camry, we are going to offer up an opportunity to come to the Test Drive Studio in that market to compare everything you have in your shopping set right now. Our feeling is you may have not had the Malibu in your consideration set, but if you try it, you will."

[Source: Marketing Daily | Image: Scott Olson/Getty]

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