(WALL STREET JOURNAL) — Buyers walking into a Cadillac dealer in the near future could find an interesting thing on the car lot: nothing.
General Motors Co. ’s luxury division has about three times as many U.S. stores as German luxury auto makers or Toyota Motor Co. ’s Lexus, but sells only about half the volume. Short of steering around rigid state franchise laws and hammering out financial settlements to shutter stores, a plan is being hatched to convert a portion of Cadillac’s 925 stores into virtual dealerships that will be low on overhead and big on sophisticated technology.
In a somewhat unprecedented way of moving metal, Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen will this month begin looking for commitments from some store owners willing to set up showrooms where buyers can get a car serviced or learn about products via virtual reality headsets without getting behind the wheel. Driving off immediately with a new vehicle will be impossible because these stores won’t have inventory.
Advertisement - story continues below