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General Motors: The Chevrolet Celta Launch
Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil - GM do Brasil (GMB) launched on September 2 the newly designed Chevrolet Celta, a subeconomy car targeted to a segment that represents more than 65% of the Brazilian automotive market.
It is being introduced as the best value within the subeconomy segment. The Celta is produced at the recently inaugurated Gravatai Automotive Complex where suppliers and General Motors developed a new, low-cost manufacturing model that reaches unprecedented levels of efficiency. Continuing this same spirit of innovation, GM do Brasil and its dealers announced that they plan to sell the Celta at both showroom floors and through a completely new internet sales channel.
"Our team's innovative spirit is fueled by a new Brazilian consumer that motivates us to break ground in every aspect of our business. By reinventing processes and by harnessing the potential of technology, we are able to bring to market the Chevrolet Celta, the best value in Brazil" said Walter Wieland, president, GM do Brasil.
The New Chevrolet Celta...Pride of GM do Brasil
The Chevrolet Celta was developed at GM do Brasil's Technical Center in Sao Caetano do Sul, Sao Paulo by the expert team that designed the successful line of Chevrolet small and economy passenger cars including the Corsa sedan, pickup and station wagon.
The Celta was conceived as a subeconomy popular car with ideal characteristics for emerging markets. In Brazil, popular car status requires a 1.0 liter engine and entails a preferential tax structure that promotes its affordability.
Engineers at GMB's Cruz Alta Proving Ground conducted intensive laboratory and performance tests measuring every aspect including crash worthiness - to ensure that the Celta embodied the best value in the market, not only in terms of price and content, but in terms of quality and safety as well. The Celta is available in two versions, base and with an optional package, and in five exterior colors.
The Celta Sales & Distribution Strategy...A New Economy Model
The Celta will be sold starting the third week of September. Simultaneously, GM do Brasil and its dealer partners are preparing to rollout in stages over the next several months a new internet sales channel based on four key strategies: (1) e-commerce, (2) one price, (3) direct invoicing and (4) fast delivery to the customer.
"Together with our dealer partners, we have stepped out of our comfort zone and broken ground so that Brazilian consumers can have the right car, at the right place, at the right time and at the right price," said Joseph DaMour, General Director, Sales & Marketing, GM do Brasil.
E-Commerce....And the Brazilian Experience
The Celta's e-commerce strategy targets a Brazilian market that is quickly adopting internet technology for the sake of speed, convenience and economy.
The new sales & distribution channel hinges on an exclusive website (www.Celta.com.br) and five vehicle distribution centers throughout Brazil that will support the speedy fulfillment of internet orders. The Celta website can be accessed from dealer kiosks at showroom floors, from home or any location with internet access.
This initiative represents the first high volume internet sales venture of its kind anywhere in the world. More than 50% of Gravatai's monthly production (currently one-shift) of close to 5,000 cars is expected to sell via the internet.
The Celta's sales strategy, just like the vehicle and its manufacturing process, responds to unique characteristics of the Brazilian market, where the potential for internet usage is exponential.
For example, over 90% of income tax statements from both citizens and companies in Brazil are completed through the internet. Just this year, over 110 million people will vote in more than 5500 cities using electronic ballots. Interestingly, these figures are higher than those of countries known to be on the cutting-edge of the internet era and in terms of connectivity.
The number of Brazilian internet users are expected to grow by 350% from 1999 to 2003. Furthermore, research shows that approximately 60% of car purchase intenders in Brazil have internet access.
Customers who prefer to see, touch and smell their vehicle before purchasing it or who prefer to buy and immediately drive off with a Celta, will be able to purchase it through the traditional method -- at showroom floors.
Fast-Delivery...Of the vehicle I want
The Celta internet sales channel will allow customers to begin their relationship with the car of their choice even before having physically seen it for the first time. When the system is fully implemented (late 2000), customers will be able to buy the car they want via internet 24 hours a day. They could also locate and track it at the dealership, at the distribution center or at the Gravatai plant. In other words, for the first time, the client is empowered to the extent that even when the showroom is closed, the company and dealer can close a sale. Five distribution centers strategically located throughout Brazil will fulfill internet orders for a specific vehicle.
A detailed analysis of market preferences, regional purchase patterns and logistics requirements have prepared GMB to break ground. The targeted delivery times are between 4-to-7 days in 99% of the vast country. It is important to note that despite the immense and diverse geography of Brazil, short delivery times will be possible thanks to the Celta's unique design and assembly process at Gravatai, both conceived from the get-go to produce two versions of the Celta with a maximum of 20-build combinations.
One-Price...Direct Invoicing...No Mystery
The Celta website (www.celta.com.br) will offer the vehicle at only one price including taxes and delivery by freight to anywhere in the country. GMB expects that the "one-price" feature will be a very attractive sales point for Brazilian customers.
First, a blanket price can facilitate the e-commerce process by bringing a greater level of perceived transparency, safety and comfort to the purchase experience - especially during the earlier stages of implementation.
Second, the unprecedented level of efficiency from vehicle design, to manufacturing, to distribution, to the ordering and delivery process, has enabled GM to offer a set internet price that makes the Celta the best value for its customers. A fully-integrated, seamless process allowed for a variety of savings, in -- for example-- taxes and inventory costs for GM and dealers.
Also, learnings from around the world including GM's Saturn Division in the United States contributed to the Celta's one-price policy. Having deleted price negotiation from the purchasing experience, Brazilian dealers will focus on the service aspects of the transaction, including accessories, trade-ins, GM Card bonuses, or third-party financing -- adding significant value to the convenience of an internet transaction.
Moreover, the simplicity of a Celta internet purchase can be personalized further with the support of a dealer. Celta accessories, such as an alarm system or sporty body accessories, will be sold separately and installed only at dealerships. In yet another first, GMB designed a process through which suppliers deliver accessories straight to dealer, saving freight, handling and inventory costs while reducing tax charges to the customer.
The Chevrolet Celta Internet Experience
GMB's cybercustomer can purchase a Celta simply by accessing the www.celta.com.br webstite. As of September 18, purchases can be completed from dealer kiosks and by late 2000, the full experience will be available from home or the customer's preferred location.
The Celta website allows the customer to: · Configure the Celta of their choice - Select options, create and view a graphic model · Locate dealership - Using a dealer locator, the customer can link to the dealer closest to the invoice address. From the kiosk, the dealer host is automatically selected. · Select Payment Option - Financed or cash. GM Bank offers online credit approval. · Purchase direct from GMB - The specific Celta can be reserved with $1000 Reais paid with a credit card or through the dealer. · Direct Invoice from GMB - Outstanding balance paid through credit card or printable payment order form (boleto bancario). · Follow Up - Customer can check status of credit pre-approval, order, payments, and the location of the vehicle. · Confirm delivery information - Upon reserving the car, customers will be provided an estimated date of delivery. The dealer contacts the customer to confirm this information. Delivery will take anywhere from 4 to 7 days (or 4-21 days during initial phase of implementation, until 2000). · Customize - Photos of car accessories available through the dealership can be added to the customers graphic model of their Celta. These can be ordered online and purchased separately at time of delivery. The Groundbreaking Gravatai Automotive Complex, Home of the Chevrolet Celta
The Celta is manufactured at the Gravatai Automotive Complex, inaugurated last July by the president of Brazil, Ferndando Henrique Cardoso and Jack Smith, Chairman of General Motors Corporation. The complex was designed to be among the most efficient in the world.
The Gravatai Automotive Complex entails two main concepts: an extremely lean and efficient vehicle production system and a newly-built industrial site referred to as an "industrial condominium."
General Motors and sixteen world-class suppliers joined forces and shared a wealth of global experiences to create an extremely efficient automotive complex that functions as one single plant. The GMB supplier team that makes up the Gravatai Automotive Industrial Complex represents 60% fewer suppliers and 50% fewer parts that would be necessary in a traditional manufacturing system.
At Gravatai, the traditional component development cycle was replaced by a codevelopment process between GM and its system suppliers. The most notably different element of production is that the GM vehicle assembly plant receives pre-assembled modules delivered just-in-time by neighboring suppliers that share space at strategic entry locations to the production line.
Among the advantages enabled by the Gravatai production model are increased speed by shortening routes, low inventories, the reduction of bottlenecks, quick correction of problems, lower costs, and most importantly, the ability to build a high-quality, competitively priced small car, the Chevrolet Celta.
GM do Brasil , established in 1925, is comprised of manufacturing complexes at Sao Caetano do Sul, San Jose dos Campos, Mogi das Cruces and Gravatai: two parts distribution centers at Sorocaba and Mogi das Cruces; a Proving Ground at Indaiatuba, administrative offices at several locations and Banco General Motors in Sao Paolo. The company markets vehicles under the Chevrolet and GMC brands.