Salisbury Post | July 19, 2020

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Interacting with a dealer when in the market for a new vehicle can be the most dreadful part of the experience for some. But locals now have the option to test-drive a vehicle by themselves without the added pressure or direct contact with a car salesperson.

Stacauto is an independent digital platform for booking test-drives without any interaction with dealers. Based in Charlotte, the program was launched on July 1. Its first area of expansion is in Salisbury at Gerry Wood Honda, Gerry Wood Kia and Gerry Wood Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram — all located on Jake Alexander Boulevard.

Stacauto founder Jordan Huibers said the three Gerry Wood dealerships in Salisbury were on-board with the program as the dealerships have been trying to expand their services. And while the pandemic wasn’t the idea behind the program, it allowed for the perfect launch time.

Huibers said his sister was once in the market for a vehicle, but she wasn’t satisfied with online-only options like Carmax or Carvana. Her dilemma helped mold Huibers’ idea of “simplifying the test driving” to keep the appeal of no contact and no pressure from a dealer, while still providing the experience buyers are familiar with at a local dealership.

The program is also free with no obligation to buy the vehicle that’s driven. Potential buyers, aged at least 25 years, reserve a time, date and vehicle they want to drive and then submit a picture of their driver’s license and a “selfie” for verification by using a secured portal. Stacauto then emails the potential buyer with a unique PIN that’ll be used to retrieve the set of keys from the digital lock in the car’s parking spot.

The vehicles are cleaned and prepared for the drive so that they’re ready when the driver arrives. Upon arriving, the reserved vehicle sits in a designated parking spot noted by a “Stacauto Test Drive” sign. Adjacent to the test drive vehicle is a “Stacauto Customer Parking” space.

After up to 45 minutes of drive time, the customer returns the keys in the digital lock. They can then choose to walk in to the dealership to speak with a representative, contact the dealer through information provided in the vehicle or respond to the email received from Stacauto following the test drive.

And the program serves as an incentive for Gerry Wood dealerships, as it attracts customers who are interested in a new way of buying “right in their backyard” in Salisbury, Huibers said.

General manager Brad Wood said the dealerships embrace a program such as Stacauto as dealers are aware people today may prefer to avoid direct interaction with a dealer when they’re test-driving or picking between different vehicle options.

Test drives can be reserved at Stacauto.com.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

Original Article Salisbury Post