Having spent nearly 20 years in the automotive industry I’ve always got an eye out for how retailing in the sector is evolving. We’ve seen the traditional dealership model challenged and disrupted significantly in recent times with the launch of the agency model and brands focusing on central digital initiatives in an attempt to offer their customers a truly seamless car buying experience. Without doubt there’s still plenty of work to do in this area, but the wheels are certainly in motion.
Alongside this digital transformation there’s also been a welcome and renewed focus on customer experience. With such a wealth of brands and choice of products available to UK consumers positive early interactions with a brand can often win the day. And this is something the Korean brands seem to be leading.
A few months ago I posted an article on Genesis, who in late 2021 opened Genesis House within the heart of the Meatpacking district in New York City. The brand describe it as an immersive destination for elevated exploration, fine dining and cultural celebration, inviting you to discover the soul of Genesis. Brand experience at new levels.
Closer to home, just last week Genesis opened a new UK studio at the iconic Battersea Power Station in London which has undergone a £9 billion regeneration project. The studio will showcase the full vehicle range available in the UK, with a dedicated area for vehicle configuration and test drives on request. It becomes the brands second showroom after Westfield London was launched in 2021.
But it’s not just the Korean brands bucking the traditional automotive retail model. Performance-focused electric car brand Polestar has also opened a retail space at the same Battersea location. Dealership group Endeavour Automotive will head up this move and become the brands 3rd location in the UK along with the Trafford Centre in Manchester and Solihull’s Touchwood Centre. Visitors will be able to interact with non-commissioned Polestar specialists to gain more information on the brand and test drives of Polestar 2 can be taken directly from the facility. With plans to expand to 8 locations by the end of 2023 it will be interesting to see where and how the brand strategically position these sites.
These are just two examples of luxury and performance brands daring to do things differently. Car retail but far removed from the traditional approach. With new electric brands coming to the UK all the time we wait to see how and where the likes of BYD, Fisker Inc, Rivian, NIO and Faraday Future showcase and sell their products.
If you work within automotive, be it a retailer or at brand level, we’d love to understand your view and talk to you about the future of auto retailing. Why not schedule a FREE 30-minute assessment today here? It will be well worth your time.
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