The kiosks let prospective buyers pick, price and print out options. Children can play games while their parents talk to salespeople.
Mercedes kicked off the test program at Imported Cars of Greenwich, in Connecticut. It is expected to expand in June to 14 other dealerships and, later, to other markets.
Mercedes' agency, Lowe & Partners/SMS, New York, tapped Dennis Interactive to develop the software and integrate Lowe's creative into the program. Dennis Interactive is the interactive division of Dennis Publishing, creator of the CD-ROM zine Blender.
`SEVERAL LEVELS' OF INFO
The deal marks the first major kiosk program for Dennis Interactive, said Jason Pearson, creative director and founder of Blender.
"The kiosk was developed on several levels, so you can get quick answers, or get more details," he said. Although the programming is expected to change, it contains 59 minutes of full-screen video. Shoppers can see each Mercedes model in any color and rotate the car's interior and exterior 360 degrees.
The kiosk also offers a trivia game on Mercedes history and a glossary game of car terms.
Mr. Pearson said dealers can hook the kiosk to the Internet to download new information, such as new model launches.
Chrysler Corp. will soon install similar shopping kiosks at all its dealerships.