A lineup of CPO Chevys for sale on a sunny day.

The Online Experience: A New Era for Dealerships and Car Buyers

Years ago, I remember being enamored by the idea that I didn’t have to buy my college textbooks from the campus bookstore, but could find them on the internet and have them shipped to my door. It was a foreign concept, and the name of the website even more so: Amazon. It turns out that the simple idea of an online bookseller has drastically impacted the world and revolutionized how we shop. Today, we can buy nearly everything imaginable online from Amazon and countless other online retailers that continue to spoil us with expedited shipping and satiate our need for instant gratification and convenience. If it saves us time, we’re all in.

While online shopping has become increasingly popular, the pandemic solidified our reliance. Even with the lockdown, we could still get what we needed, at least in terms of groceries, delivered to our door. Suddenly, every industry without a prominent online presence was taking note, especially the automotive industry. Today, shopping for a vehicle like CPO Chevys for sale no longer means driving to a dealership and walking around the lot. Thanks to General Motors and ongoing industry-wide advancements, dealerships are bringing models to us, meeting us where we are, and allowing us to explore our options from the comfort of home.

The Push to an Online Presence: The Pandemic Impact

The pandemic threw the world a curveball, with lockdowns keeping us at home and significantly impacting every industry nationwide. While memes poke fun at the great toilet paper shortage, the reality is that the pandemic forced businesses, especially those in the automotive industry, to pivot and look for more ways to reach customers. It wasn’t like dealerships were in the Stone Age without websites, but those sites were little more than a phone book entry for potential customers to find contact information, hours of operation, and other details.

As the pandemic forced us to shop online and rely on virtual services, the automotive industry has followed suit and recognized the importance of having a more prominent and impactful online presence. Dealerships have progressively evolved their websites from stationary platforms to virtual showrooms that allow customers to confidently shop online, explore their options, and kickstart the purchase process. The difference is extraordinary, with American consumers hesitant to buy a vehicle online before the pandemic, but eventually coming around to the idea and using dealer websites to look at their options, narrow their search, qualify for financing, and explore incentives.

Today, dealerships across the country continue this transition. Customers readily benefit, saving valuable time because they don’t necessarily have to start the process at a dealership where they’re forced to be defensive against fast-talking salespeople. Instead, they can look through their options online, gather pricing details, and evaluate their financing options before heading to the dealership armed with information. This in-person part of the process is still very much a necessity for most consumers, because buying a vehicle is an investment that most feel more comfortable seeing for themselves and test driving before saying “yes” to the deal.

How can dealerships answer this need as well? If they find a way, what does this mean for the future of dealerships and the traditional experience we expect as consumers? Fortunately, we’re already seeing the answer from General Motors.

A man using his laptop to shop online for used cars.

General Motors and CarBravo: A Virtual Car-Buying Experience

Dealerships are solidifying their online presence, but it doesn’t happen overnight. Websites take time to rebuild, especially creating quality content and drawing traffic to pages once inundated with mundane verbiage and empty promises. Fortunately, General Motors is making the process easier and more accessible with its revolutionary CarBravo.

Introduced in 2022, CarBravo marks a significant transition in the industry as General Motors ushers more dealerships into the virtual realm. CarBravo isn’t simply another sub-brand of the General Motors lineup. It’s an innovative way to shop for a used vehicle without the need to visit a dealership. It’s also an outstanding way for associated dealerships to become part of this new online trend and put time on their side.

“CarBravo is designed to provide customers the convenience to shop how they want, where they want–online, at the dealership, or both,” General Motors announced in 2022. “CarBravo will give customers more choice and access to shop significantly expanded inventories of both the dealer and a national central stock of GM used vehicles. Importantly, the program features will also be offered on non-GM used vehicles.”

With CarBravo, customers have a nationwide selection of used models at their fingertips, wherever they are. This expansive inventory gives customers more options to find what they want without compromise and to follow through with the purchase process however they choose. They can navigate everything online and have the car delivered to their homes, or opt to finalize the process and pick up their car, truck, or SUV at a local dealership. The bespoke aspect of CarBravo promises an exceptional experience that finally puts the customer in control of the car-buying process.

A bright and modern car dealership showroom.

The Power of Confidence

Part of the concern with shopping for a vehicle online is our need to see what we’re buying before we finalize the purchase. Regardless of what you spend, a car is an investment, and we’ve been told for years never to buy a vehicle without looking at it and test-driving it. Where does that leave CarBravo?

General Motors is an automotive pioneer, shaping the American landscape since the 1900s. You don’t gain that level of credibility without knowing what you’re doing, and it’s apparent with how General Motors designs CarBravo. The automotive conglomerate acknowledges the widespread concern among consumers and responds with a bespoke approach that gives customers a chance for that in-person connection before the sale is final. More importantly, CarBravo doesn’t stop there.

General Motors takes an even bigger step beforehand to instill confidence in its inventory. Instead of opting for quantity over quality, CarBravo does the opposite and looks for high-quality models that meet General Motors’ standards of excellence and reliability. Each model is thoroughly vetted, inspected, and reconditioned to mirror GM’s standards, ensuring customers only have the best models to choose from in CarBravo’s virtual showroom.

The Dealership Experience Reimagined

CarBravo challenges the traditional dealership experience in ways that make it better and more enjoyable. As customers explore their options with CarBravo, the company’s commitment to transparency becomes widely apparent. The online tool is built on General Motors’ all-new digital retail platform that presents customers with an intuitive and information-rich interface that streamlines the entire experience.

Instead of scouring window stickers and spending an insane amount of time negotiating a fair price, CarBravo shows you everything you need with its transparent dealer pricing. This pricing coincides with 360-degree views of the vehicle that give you an impeccable portrait of the car, truck, or SUV’s condition. Likewise, CarBravo also includes the vehicle history report, which is usually only available upon request at dealerships after you show interest in the model.

This information-rich approach is defined by transparency and puts you in complete control over the process. You have everything necessary to make a confident purchase, following through with your decision either online or in person. Because of this, CarBravo is already challenging the traditional dealership experience, introducing us to an alternative that saves us valuable time and gives us the freedom to thoroughly enjoy the process without compromise.