San Francisco dealers are eager for Google pilot program

Article by Christian A., on November 8, 2011

Amid hopes to improve their businesses, several dealers in the San Francisco area have signed up to make a bid for Internet leads from search engine giant Google. They are excited for Google to launch the pilot program. According to Shaun Del Grande, president of the eight-store Del Grande Dealer Group in San Jose, Calif., the program could give his business a boost.

It could also decrease the number of third-party leads he currently buys. According to dealers in San Francisco, Google will create a Web page for those who are looking for vehicles. Via a Google auction, dealers will bid so that they could be one of three dealers named on the page when buyers write a discounted price request. For instance, they could indicate a 2012 Toyota Camry with certain specifications.

The consumers make their selection from the listed dealers in order to get the lead and so that they could find out the price. Of the three Internet searches globally, two are with Google. It shares its vehicle-shopping template with dealers at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in San Francisco next February. This program started with just five Bay-area dealers. However, a date for the national launch hasn’t been decided yet.

According to Del Grande, Google is taking its time to guarantee that the consumer experience is superior and that it signs enough dealers for competitive bidding. Adam Simms, co-owner of the seven-store Price Family Dealerships in the Bay area, said that this program will be quite similar to what Google has made available to those who shop for mortgage refinancing rates.

Mike Christian, general manager of Toyota Marin in Marin, one of the Price Family stores, said that dealers will bid for one of the places on a Google page where shoppers can produce the specifications they want at a guaranteed price. For example, when looking for details about the 2012 Toyota Camry in the Bay area, the link to the Google shopping page would be at the top of any Google search.

Christian said that $10 is the minimum bid for placement on the Google vehicle-shopping page on every lead generated. When it’s a popular vehicle, it could go higher than $25. The lead is produced when the Google shopper submits vehicle specifications to the dealer. Simms explained that he prefers shopping networks just like Google, which enables online shoppers to be in touch with dealerships. [source: Autonews]

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