Thursday, March 20, 2008

Unusual “ride-share” program experiment in Washington DC

I don't have a huge respect for GM but this is pretty brilliant.

Unusual “ride-share” program in Washington DC provides a steady source of new test riders.

“Slugging” in Washington is a system of ride sharing so that cars can meet the three occupant requirement for using HOV lanes. Randomness of passengers provided an easy way to get a lot of feedback on the new Malibu - and maybe get some word-of-mouth buzz as well.

HOV Lanes

Cars offering rides and passengers looking for a ride (Slugs) meet at predetermined locations inside and outside the city. The driver announces his or her destination and the first person in line for that destination hops in for the ride. In the evening the process is reversed.

A couple of interns working at Chevrolet’s Northeast Regional office came up with the idea to use the system to obtain first-hand consumer reactions to the Malibu. For five weeks after the Washington DC Auto Show, regional employees joined the Slug vehicle lines in the morning and afternoon, offering complete strangers rides in the new Malibu.

Approximately 800 informal test rides were completed during the five-week program. Slug riders offer an interesting base from which to solicit reaction to the newly redesigned and highly touted Malibu. Because the Slug system is so random, riders get to experience just about every type and model of automobile, truck and whatever else makes its way into a Slug line.

2008 Chevrolet Malibu - a born rental car?

Their opinions could be more valuable than the average person met at a dealership. They certainly provide a much wider basis of comparison when it comes to the ride experience in different cars

According to a report in the Washington Times, John Konkel, Chevrolet’s marketing manager for the region says that the feedback has been very positive. According to Konkel, the riders were very impressed with the OnStar turn-by-turn navigation system and that the vehicle had a 110-volt outlet for their portable electronics.

A GM Executive Manager comments. Stay tuned.

Slugging has existed in the DC area since the early 70s. More information can be found at

DealersEdge Daily Headlines


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