Can Nissan sell dealers on digital sales tool?

Achieving that target will take some selling, said Tyler Slade, operating partner at Tim Dahle Nissan Southtowne in suburban Salt Lake City.

“You are asking dealers to give up some control of the car deal,” he said. “You are asking dealers to change their business model.

“That’s not going to happen overnight, but dealers will need to adapt.”

The auto industry is gravitating toward online sales to cater to a generation of consumers averse to brick-and-mortar shopping.

“Dealers have got to get on board because this is the train that’s coming,” said Justin Crain, managing partner at Burleson Nissan near Fort Worth, Texas. “Consumers are intimidated. They don’t want to come and fight the battle in a dealership.”

Last year, General Motors beefed up its Shop-Click-Drive online shopping tool to offer test drive scheduling, trade-ins at home or work and real-time credit applications. And in May, Stellantis pushed to get more dealerships onto its digital retail platform that launched early in the COVID-19 pandemic. The automaker touted the system’s low cost and range of functions.

Some dealers remain wary of the usefulness of factory digital retailing programs.

[email protected] “is not revolutionary — it doesn’t do anything that we are not doing with off-the-shelf digital tools,” said one Southeast region dealer who requested not to be identified.

“We didn’t see any need for the factory to be involved,” the dealer said. “It’s just another attempt to run our business.”