It isn’t easy to change consumer opinion, especially when it comes to automobiles, but General Motors’ Vehicle Advocate program is regularly doing that, one test drive at a time.
As a car enthusiast, I know the only way to truly get a complete impression of a vehicle is to drive it. Surprisingly, many consumers haven’t had a chance to experience GM’s award-winning products first hand, let alone from behind the wheel. Consumers tend to buy or favor products they know, but it seems many don’t know us well enough.
GM’s Vehicle Advocate program is changing that. Initially launched as a small grassroots program five years ago, the Vehicle Advocate program has since grown by leaps and bounds. In addition to allowing employees to borrow vehicles to show and share with friends, family, and neighbors, the program also conducts ride and drive events across the country. These programs let suppliers, vendors, college students, and other consumer groups judge the latest Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac products for themselves.
I was fortunate to be one of 50 GM employees who volunteered to organize a four-day ride-and-drive in Atlanta, including a stop at Georgia Tech. We brought a fleet of cars and trucks to the Peachtree state, and conducted nearly 1,800 test drives during our stay.
What’s the catch? There is none. There isn’t any pressure for consumers. We simply want to share our products, and get the public behind the wheel. More often than not, the vehicle does most of the talking for us, but should any questions arise, the Advocates can help. After all, besides a dealer, few can answer questions better than the men and women who helped design, engineer, and manufacture these vehicles.
It doesn’t take long to see this approach truly works. By allowing customers to explore our vehicles at their own pace, they approach each and every experience with an open mind. As they spend more time behind the wheel, learning more and more about our cars and trucks, you can watch their impressions evolve over the course of a few hours. Some walk away with a new perspective on what GM builds today, while others are champing at the bit to buy a new vehicle.
If you haven’t had the chance to drive a new Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, or Cadillac, but have the opportunity to participate in a future Vehicle Advocate program, don’t hesitate. There aren’t many better opportunities to get to know GM’s products – and people – firsthand.
A life-long “car guy” who adores the new Corvette Stingray, Vincent Cacace joined GM last September. Cacace presently serves as a Platform Engagement Manager on the Data Management and Analytics Platform Team and works out of GM’s IT Innovations Center in Austin, Texas.