Boston among first cities to get these special Domino’s delivery vehicles

ONE LARGE, WITH CHEESE, TO TRAVEL: Domino’s Pizza has partnered with Chevrolet to redesign a Spark that can keep pizza warm and deliver in bulk.
ONE LARGE, WITH CHEESE, TO TRAVEL: Domino’s Pizza has partnered with Chevrolet to redesign a Spark that can keep pizza warm and deliver in bulk. –Chevrolet

Ordering out often means calling Domino’s. Its drivers deliver roughly 400 million pizzas in the United States each year, and they cover approximately 10 million miles per week to get us those pies.

For better or worse, the company has given us the corrugated cardboard pizza box, an order tracking system, its Heatwave bag, and ordering via text, Twitter, and emoji.

Now they’ve collaborated with Roush Enterprises and General Motors to develop the Domino’s DXP (Delivery Expert) vehicle, an extensively modified Chevrolet Spark.

The project has taken three years. “It allows drivers to do their jobs with greater ease and efficiency, and demonstrates that Domino’s is absolutely fanatical about making perfect deliveries,’’ says Russell Weiner, president of Michigan-based Domino’s USA.

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Roush and former GM R&D executive Ken Baker collaborated on designing the vehicle. There are 100 in the first production run.

Boston will be among the first 25 markets to receive the vehicles, likely before the end of this year. Among the features you won’t find in a normal Spark:

1. A Domino’s-branded warming oven located behind the driver’s door, which is big enough for two of the Heatwave warming bags and can be accessed from outside.

2. The only seat is for the driver, allowing space for up to 80 pizzas for large orders, along with accompanying salads, soda bottles, and wings.

3. A puddle lamp projects the Domino’s logo on the ground. It’s also on the front fascia, side panels, and hubcaps.

4. The DXP has Chevy’s OnStar system to help drivers with turn-by-turn directions.

This isn’t a post office-size fleet order so most deliveries will continue to be made in drivers’ personal cars.

However, thinking outside the (pizza) box and connecting some dots, we can offer a way to expand the business.

Because these trucks won’t be delivering pizzas in the early morning, could they be re-purposed to deliver the morning newspaper along with hot coffee and breakfast items?

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Wouldn’t reading this column on a Sunday morning be more palatable if your delivery guy was ringing the bell with hot coffee and a breakfast order?

At least that’s my Domino’s Theory.

Story continues after gallery

9 new cars that don’t run on gas

Innovative Practices

Successful auto dealers, for the most part, are a unique breed. They’re entrepreneurs, they’re personable, they’re always looking to grow their business, and they’re natural salesmen.

In recent years, these pages have featured Kevin Meehan’s Imperial Cars in Mendon, which offers a diner, hair salons, and gas station along with his Chevrolet, Chrysler, and Ford dealerships.

In Quincy, Mike and Dan Quirk had the idea for a Technology Team, hiring tech-savvy high school students to help customers learn how to use the features on their vehicles, first at Quirk Ford then at their other dealerships.

Recently, Automotive News published a 48-page glossy supplement, singling out such innovative business practices.

Among them:

Aloha Auto Group in Hawaii. They were unable to find (or afford) real estate in northern Oahu so they tried something different and rented space for a Kia information center in an upscale mall. It’s now become a mini-dealership.

The San Francisco Bay Area also has high real estate prices. Oakland’s former Auto Row thrived 60 years ago but fell on hard times in recent decades. Now, with the trend back to urban living, VW of Oakland owner Mike Murphy is planning a redevelopment with dealerships on the ground floor and 500 upscale apartments on the upper floors.

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In Florida, Orlando’s Premier Collection (Infiniti dealerships) color codes its used cars with blue, gold, silver, or bronze window stickers. The dealerships use blue to designate Certified Pre-Owned while gold denotes vehicles with fewer than 50,000 miles and some of the original warranty remaining.

Silver inventory vehicles have 50,000-to-100,000 miles but have undergone the gold group’s same 125-point inspection and come with a 2,000-mile guarantee.

Bronze vehicles have more than 100,000 miles and come with a five-day or 300-mile “peace of mind’’ refund policy.

Closer to home, a Boston-area dealership cited in the national supplement is Silko Honda of Raynham, a family business that was founded in 1962 but faces heavy competition from larger groups in its geographic area. To compete, they implemented SilkoCare in 2010. It includes free maintenance for two years or 25,000 miles, discounted oil changes after that, unlimited free car washes, and a lifetime powertrain warranty.

Etc.

Chevrolet is planning to build a Bolt (not Volt) EV, starting late next year. The vehicle is being developed with electronics giant LG. A concept was shown at last January’s North American International Auto Show. The vehicle will be “affordable and have a 200-mile all-electric range.’’ … The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Prince William and Kate) recently were part of the introduction of an all-electric double-decker bus in London. The bus, which is air conditioned, can cover up to 190 miles on a single charge. It’s built by Chinese automaker Geely, which also plans to introduce an all-electric next generation of the traditional black London taxis by 2017 … According to edriving’s instructors, teens starting out behind the wheel have three failings in common. They don’t intuitively understand the car’s basic controls, mixing up gas and brake, wipers, and directional stalks. They seem oblivious to blind spots when merging, backing up, or changing lanes. And, like a majority of drivers in my town, they must think their turn signals are broken.

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