GM Wants to Use OnStar Data to Help Dealers Sell Better

When OnStar first hit the scene, it was sold as a pretty straight-forward safety system. Now, though, in the Facebook era, the true money-making potential of the system is beginning to emerge.

Thanks to its wealth of information about how buyers use their cars, GM is looking to sell dealers that information to help them sell better.

Sales tools like these that offer insight into local buyers’ needs aren’t new, but generally are sold to dealers by third-party vendors. GM wants to change that.

Programs like Excellence Executive Dashboard allow dealers to enter their ID code online and find out how well they’re performing under GM’s standards and incentives programs. And it’s not just customer cars, either. OnTrac can help dealers decide how best to use their loaner fleet.

All of it is in an attempt to help dealers sell better and GM figures that these programs, along with the many more that GM will develop through data collection, are worth up $1.5 billion in profit, according to GM CFO Chuck Stevens.

“We are at the front end of opportunities associated with our OnStar business,” said Stevens at an industry conference. He added that “significant data monetization opportunities on the horizon.”

They key now is to get dealers on board. Often keen to maintain their independence from the brand, GM needs to sell them on the superiority of its insights.

Third party vendors “have great solutions,” Scott Bell, Chevrolet’s director of sales operations, told Automotive News. “But they’re negotiating with dealers one on one. What the dealers asked us to do, was let’s unite and let’s go negotiate as a group. It’s stronger.”

As it stands, it sounds like they’re on board. Mike Bowsher, head of the Chevrolet National Dealer Council, said that the “you build ‘em, we sell ‘em” model won’t work anymore.

“We have to do this together,” said Bowsher. “If you don’t you are not going to make it. You have to take advantage of these things.”

[source: Automotive News]