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Want To Test Drive A GM? Go To The Dealer Like Everyone Else

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On: Fri, Sep 9, 2011 at 1:28PM | By: Chris Weiss

Want To Test Drive A GM? Go To The Dealer Like Everyone Else

It was only a few months ago that GM was heavily marketing its "Main Street in Motion" program, a sort of traveling test-drive in which it took a variety of products from GMC, Buick, and Chevy (no Caddies for the masses, unfortunately) and offered test drives at events and stadiums. Interestingly, it not only offered test drives of its own vehicles (including the Camaro and Chevy Volt), but also of competitors, so you could get a true, head-to-head comparison. For GM, it was a good way to get out into the community and try to change any negative perceptions and reinforce positive ones. For consumers, it was a good way to test a variety of vehicles at once. Frankly, it seemed like a great idea.

Apparently, despite GM's best efforts, the Main Street in Motion program wasn't particularly successful, because GM has shut it down in favor of more conventional advertising routes.

Despite originally planning to run the program into the fall, GM discontinued it after an August 27-28 event in Houston. It doesn't appear that GM offered much reason for the move, but, according to the Detroit Free Press, it plans to funnel the money into more traditional advertising vehicles like television and online ads. So much for innovation.

GM has closed the Main Street in Motion site. An explanation on the home page says simply: "The Main Street in Motion program has been discontinued. We are unable to accept registrations and apologize for any inconvenience. We are in the process of evaluating the possibility of future programs. Thank you for your interest in Main Street in Motion."

GM's original schedule released in the winter had September and October dates for St. Petersburg, Florida; Arlington Heights, Illinois; Shakopee, Minnesota; and Auburn, Washington. The program was scheduled to wrap up on October 31, but now those cities will miss out.

If you're a potential Cadillac customer, you may be a little luckier. Almost as if to deflect attention from the cancellation of Main Street in Motion, GM issued a press release on Wednesday about Cadillac V-Series Performance Labs. Like Main Street in Motion, the Cadillac event travels around the country to cities like LA and Atlanta and allows customers to test drive Cadillac models—specifically the CTS-V. Customers will even get to put the 556-hp sedan to the test on a private race course, after watching a demonstration and receiving personalized training.

Unlike the Main Street program, the V-Labs are open only to invitees, regional dealers, and select media. Cadillac sent out 3,000 invitations, primarily to owners of competing luxury cars.

On the plus side, the Cadillac Culinary Challenge series is open to the public and will offer test drives of both Cadillacs and competing models from BMW, Mercedes, and Lexus. Now that sounds like the test drive to be at! The V-Series Performance Academy scheduled for October 29 and 31 in Las Vegas is also open to the public.


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