news • Jun 26 2024

Start Your Engines: Car Shopping is Now a Dynamic Experience

Long gone are the days of stale car showrooms. Previously, shopping for a vehicle meant visiting a boring building with little personality and peering into a few car windows, or maybe going for a test drive. But in recent years, that experience has transformed significantly. Now, car showrooms are specifically designed to stretch out the tremendous appeal of each car’s brand. You’re not just buying a vehicle anymore, you’re buying a lifestyle.

While a lot of the world has gone online for shopping, that’s not the case for those searching for a new car. In fact, 91% of shoppers bought their car from a dealer, according to a 2023 Friction Points study. As a result, car manufacturers understand how essential it is to curate the shopping experience to be one that fully engages customers. Here’s a look at three unique genres of car showrooms that are pushing the envelope on the car shopping experience. 

 

Aston Martin’s Excellence

From a luxury perspective, Aston Martin is leading the pack. The British manufacturer of luxury vehicles is leaning heavily into high-end showrooms, with their new Japan location as a perfect example. 

Located in The Peninsula in Ginza, Tokyo’s famed shopping district, its opening is timed to align with April’s Japanese Grand Prix 2024. Spanning two stories and featuring a digital media wall and customer lounge, the space can display up to three Aston Martin cars at any time. The new debut comes right alongside next month’s launch of the Aston Martin Vantage, a new racing-inspired sports car.  

Stateside, Aston Martin has a lot going on as well. In addition to April’s opening of the Aston Martin residences in Miami, which was created to bring the car manufacturer’s design values to architecture, the company’s New York showroom, Q New York, continues to draw major attention. An appointment-only space on Park Avenue, the New York showroom is intended for customers to commission, specify and even track the progress of their Aston Martin as it is hand-assembled. While the vehicles are finished at Gaydon, in Warwickshire, clients can follow their progression, taking an active role in the development before they even open the car door. Seen as “tailoring for your car,” the service is clearly successful: The bespoke Q service was up 92 percent last year, Wallpaper reported

 

Cars Going Culinary  

The car industry is connecting with the culinary world in new and exciting ways. Previously, we discussed how car brands often partner with the culinary world to expand into restaurants. But that relationship goes both ways, and car showrooms are   entering the culinary sphere, “wooing customers with more than just cappuccino these days,” as the Straits Times reports.  

One of the world’s most legendary car manufacturers, Ferrari, owns Ristorante Cavallino in the company’s Italian hometown of Marenello. Also featuring a garden and open terrace, the venue is helmed by Michelin-starred chef Massimo Bottura. The restaurant is strategically placed between the Ferrari factory and their new flagship store, and filled with memorabilia from Ferrari’s storied history. 

Back in the United States, Genesis House, a three-story, 45,000-square-foot “glimmering structure,” is located on New York’s West Side. Carefully curated, the venue does feature cars onsite, but isn’t overloaded with merchandise. Instead, “the ones on display are sleek and seem to purr even when dormant,” Esquire describes. Functioning like a fusion of a restaurant and art gallery, one could almost forget that the space is designed to sell cars. 

 

Getting Plugged In: The Electric Perspective

When it comes to selling cars, electric vehicle brands are on the forefront of creating dynamic sales experiences. Polestar, the Swedish electronic vehicle brand, just opened an experience center in Coral Gables, Florida. It’s their fifth in the state, demonstrating the significant demand in an area where electric vehicle registrations surpass 220,000. 

The brand is focused on blending the area’s historic beauty with Polestar’s cutting-edge technology. But they take that creativity with them everywhere, and even created a showroom out of snow in Rovaniemi, Finland. Using 3,000 cubic meters of snow gathered from the neighboring Ounscaara ski resort, they built a space featuring large-scale snow and ice sculptures. On a nearby track, potential customers can try out the vehicles. 

BYD, another electronic vehicle brand, is constructing experience centers in China. Their newest one features five floors, 6,550 square meters, and areas including brand display, model display, technology display, and user activities. This is a wise decision, considering China is a hotspot for electric car companies who are paying top dollar to open up luxury showrooms in high-end shopping malls. As Tesla is looking for showroom space in malls and commercial districts across India, it’s a potential precursor of the electric car revolution that may be on its way to the United States.

 

It’s clear that car buyers are looking for a new way to shop for a vehicle. But this doesn’t mean they’re looking to avoid the traditional showroom experience. Instead, they want exploring a car showroom to be an exciting experience that eliminates idle time and delves into what it would truly mean to own that vehicle. 

As we’ve demonstrated through three different genres, by creating an immersive journey that leads customers to buy a vehicle, car companies are taking hold of the future and demonstrating how essential in-person car shopping is in an online world.

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