Buick lets you test-drive their vehicles for 24 hours

Article by Andrew Christian, on July 20, 2015

Buick has launched the “24 Hours of Happiness" – a test-drive program that allows customers to take test-drive vehicles home overnight. The automaker has planned a national advertising campaign that includes TV ads. The automaker is urging dealerships to enrol in this program. But rather than being a promotion that’s short-term, Buick actually intends for this to be a long-term strategy.

This offer is a “long-term brand promise,” according to Buick brand chief Duncan Aldred. He made the decision to push through with this program on the national level after he received positive customer feedback from a pilot program that was recently conducted in the Phoenix area. When interviewed, Aldred said that this move proves to customers that they’re really confident in their vehicles.

This concept of a 24-hour test drive isn’t a new one. In 2003 to 2004, GM had a similar campaign across its brands. GM went beyond and offered to give $250 to anyone who had test-driven a GM vehicle but decided to later on buy from a rival. GM had focused on boosting sales. For the 8-month period of the promotion in 2003, it recorded more than 500,000 extended test drives.

It led to sales of nearly 190,000 units, according to Gary Cowger, GM North America President at the time. Aldred said that Buick’s strategy is different. It doesn’t have any incentive money attached to it. The program will be assessed after 3 months but this offer is likely to continue indefinitely. In a memo to dealers, Buick said that the purpose of this offer isn’t only to immediately boost showroom traffic but rather, it is a brand builder.

Henry Brown, chairman of the Buick-GMC National Dealer Council and owner of Henry Brown Buick-GMC in Gilbert, Ariz., was one of those who participated in the Phoenix pilot program. He said that fewer than predicted people took the cars overnight but the offer had made a good impression on majority of customers.

He said that it improved the brand’s image and that it had demonstrated Buick’s confidence for the customers to make up their mind about how great the car is without a salesperson seated beside them. Brown said that those who signed up for the extended test drivers were more likely to purchase a vehicle than those who took a regular test-drive.

Dealerships who enrol in the program have to already operate loaner vehicles for service customers, which is referred to as the Courtesy Transportation program.

In the last couple of years, GM was able to expand those fleets significantly throughout the Buick-GMC and Chevrolet sales channels by giving financial incentives as they assign vehicles to be courtesy loaners. Last year, GM dealers added to their courtesy fleets to help handle the influx of service work from the record safety recalls.

Press Release

Buick Introduces 24 Hours of Happiness Test Drive

Buick and its participating dealers today introduced the 24 Hours of Happiness Test Drive, a daylong test drive experience complemented by sounds, smells and even yoga techniques to help encourage well-being and happiness on the road.

Driving can be stressful, especially during rush hour or for those who get lost. A recent survey of drivers conducted online by Harris Poll– commissioned by Buick – shows 57 percent are interested in learning how to reduce their stress while driving.

Separately, a recent AutoTrader.com “Car Buyer of the Future” study found that 88 percent of consumers said they would not buy a car without test driving it first. And a majority of those surveyed said they wanted more convenience and less pressure while test driving.

“From the refined and sculptural design of our vehicles, to the environment of our showrooms, to our award-winning customer service, happiness and a sense of well-being are inherent in everything we do,” said Duncan Aldred, U.S. vice president, Buick.

The 24 Hours of Happiness Test Drive content includes exclusive videos, podcasts, compressed digital images, and even a recipe for an in-car fragrance designed to make any car journey a happier experience. The online content is expected to help to engage new customers and complement the dealer-offered 24-hour test drive.

To create the 24 Hours of Happiness Test Drive, Buick brought together some of America’s leading experts on happiness and well-being. They used the beauty, calm and refined comfort of Buick vehicles to inspire their specialized content.

The experts include:

Shawn Achor, author, happiness researcher and CEO of GoodThink Inc.
Chad Dennis, yoga instructor to the stars
Bar Refaeli, Israeli supermodel and yogi
Amanda Chantal Bacon, wellness guru and Moon Juice founder
Jeff Kober, actor and meditation coach
Irene Neuwirth, jewelry designer and Council of Fashion Designers of America award winner
Dr. Dot, masseuse to the stars.

The content includes:

“The Buick Road to Happiness,” a motivational podcast and short film created by Achor with Buick. Intended to be listened to on the road, it is designed to help increase a driver’s sense of happiness and well-being.

“The Buick Body Shop,” is a custom yoga video by Dennis, starring supermodel Bar Refaeli. As touring yoga instructor to Maroon 5 and One Direction, Dennis is well-versed in practicing yoga while on the road. His simple yoga sequence, performed before or after the test drivea drive, is designed to alleviate tension, improve physical performance and aid mental clarity and focus.

“The Buick Atmosphere” is an in-car aroma created by Bacon and Neuwirth. Bacon turns her culinary talents to fragrance – mixing a custom in-car scent inspired by Buick’s calm and comfortable interiors and designed to elevate and stimulate the senses.

Red carpet jewelry designer Neuwirth created a unique diffuser for the fragrance featuring wood, crystals and Choccachino Buick leather, her first non-fine jewelry creation. The Buick Atmosphere fragrance is easy to create at home and the recipe, a simple mix of Amanda's favorite essential oils, will be online. A suggested soundtrack and menu of healthy snacks complements the fragrance.

“The Buick Meditation Map” is a podcast and short film by actor and meditation coach, Kober. For Buick, he created a special guided meditation to be performed before or after the drivea drive. His Buick Meditation Map has been designed to increase awareness, mental clarity and focus, and get participants in what he calls “the drive zone.”

“The Buick Pressure Check” is a series of compressed digital images, or GIFs, by Dr. Dot, also known as “massage therapist to the stars.” With the stress of driving in mind, Dr. Dot designed a simple pressure point massage technique intended to be self-administered before , during (while safely stopped) or after the testa drive. The techniques are designed to ease tension in the head, ears, jaw, neck and shoulders.

“We believe this innovative content and dealership experience will connect Buick with a heightened sense of well-being and create additional excitement about the brand,” Aldred said.

The 24 Hours of Happiness Test Drive content, as well as information on how to participate in a test drive in your area, is available here. Content also can be accessed from the Buick Verano, Regal, LaCrosse, Encore or Enclave using the available OnStar 4G LTE and WiFi hot spot.

Methodology
The survey was conducted online within the United States between June 25 and 29, 2015 among 2,018 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, 1,841 of whom are drivers, by Harris Poll Online on behalf of Buick.

Topics: buick, test drive, gm

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