Dealerships

Cadillac Live interactive digital showroom launches in five U.S. states

Buyers are being empowered to change up their shopping habits with the new Cadillac Live interactive digital platform.

Photo courtesy of Cadillac

Cars.com research recently revealed that the dealership experience is a major pain point for new car buyers. Automakers are continuously working to enhance that experience and lately there has been a push to revolutionize the sales model with more digital integration.

Cadillac, a division of General Motors, has launched Cadillac Live, a digital shopping platform designed to bring elements of the dealership experience to shoppers' smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers. When using Cadillac Live, customers enter a digital showroom via an online portal to view the features and specifications of up to 10 Cadillac models. Once in the system, they can speak with a Live product specialist, who can answer vehicle and purchase-consideration questions.

Cadillac Live Lounge The Cadillac Live Lounge features cars and SUVs from the entire Cadillac passenger vehicle lineup. Photo courtesy of Cadillac

"Luxury consumers are looking for a seamless, one-on-one shopping experience, whether online or in-person," said Melissa Grady, Cadillac chief marketing officer. "Cadillac Live offers a high degree of personal service, with time-saving conveniences and extended hours, reflecting today's evolving shopping habits and our customers' expectations."

The move to digital is a logical one for Cadillac. Data from Google shows that twice as many car buyers start their research online versus at the dealership.

Cadillac Live Agent A Cadillac Live agent helps shoppers explore new vehicles. Photo courtesy of Cadillac

Customers are able to do everything but test drive and pull the trigger on buying a new vehicle via Cadillac Live. Here's how Cadillac says it works:

Shoppers can explore every detail of a Cadillac vehicle with the help of a Live agent, who is equipped with an iPhone X, Osmo Mobile gimbal and Bluetooth headset, providing two-way audio and one-way live video. That means shoppers can hear and see the agent, while the agent can hear – but not see – the shopper. The agents are also equipped with a digital interface to share color, wheel and accessory choices. Live agent sessions are available on-demand or can be scheduled for a future date. Additionally, shoppers can invite a partner to join a Live session.

As Cadillac struggles to remain a relevant brand for buyers, the implementation of a less confrontational shopping experience via a device that can be used at the convenience of the customer is an intriguing move that may pay off. Seventy-one percent of customers report switching to a competitor's product after finding their selection process easier according to the 2017 Cassandra Shop Report, which specifically focuses on millennial and Gen Y buyers.

The pilot program is available in five states: California, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Texas. Every dealership in each of those states was offered the opportunity to take part in the program with 160 opting in. Of that 160, 38 of those dealers are based in Texas.

Cadillac Live Lounge Agent Shoppers can ask questions in real time. Photo courtesy of Cadillac

Cadillac Live agents are available to connect with shoppers Monday-Thursday, from 9 a.m.-1 a.m. ET, Friday, from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. ET, and Saturday and Sunday, from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. ET. Customers can schedule future sessions with a Live agent during off-hours.

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Southern California is one of the hotspots for pollution in the U.S.

Photo by Getty Images

California is the country's largest new vehicle sales market. It's also in the crosshairs of climate change activists fighting to change decades of regulations in an effort to improve the livelihoods of the state's residents while also benefitting the plants and animals that live in the state.

Governor Gavin Newson today issued an executive order requiring sales of all new passenger vehicles to be zero-emission by 2035. This means that the sales of gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles will be banned in favor of battery electric (BEV) and hydrogen fuel cell (FCEV) vehicles.

That goal is poised to eliminate 35 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions and 80 percent of the oxides of nitrogen emissions from cars statewide, according to the State.

Data from the State shows that the transportation sector is responsible for more than half of all California's carbon pollution. Eighty percent of the that is from smog-forming pollution while 95 percent is from diesel emissions. The transportation sector includes passenger vehicles as well as shipping and other forms of mobility.

"This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change," said Governor Newsom. "For too many decades, we have allowed cars to pollute the air that our children and families breathe. Californians shouldn't have to worry if our cars are giving our kids asthma. Our cars shouldn't make wildfires worse – and create more days filled with smoky air. Cars shouldn't melt glaciers or raise sea levels threatening our cherished beaches and coastlines."

The next steps include the California Air Resources Board developing regulations to mandate that 100 percent of in-state sales of new passenger cars and trucks are zero-emission by 2035. Additionally, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles are mandated to be 100 percent zero emission by 2045 where feasible, with the mandate going into effect by 2035 for drayage trucks.

The move to all-BEV and FCEV vehicles won't eliminate the pollutants spewed by vehicles purchased prior to 2035 or the purchase of used vehicles.

This isn’t the first time California has attempted to regulate electrified vehicles into popularity. Despite the state’s efforts, BEVs, FCEVs, and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) are unpopular among buyers nationwide. Out of the 17 million vehicles sold in the U.S. in 2019, just 330,000 of them were plug-in electric cars (BEVs and PHEVs) with 80 percent of those being Teslas. Only 7,000 FCEVs were sold or leased during the same period.

Additionally, “the executive order directs state agencies to develop strategies for an integrated, statewide rail and transit network, and incorporate safe and accessible infrastructure into projects to support bicycle and pedestrian options, particularly in low-income and disadvantaged communities” according to a release by the Governor’s office.

Earlier this year, the California Air Resources Board has approved new regulations requiring truck manufacturers to transition to electric zero-emission trucks beginning in 2024.

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