Back in 2014, BMW rolled out new dealership standards for the look and feel of BMW retail centers in the United States. As of April 2016, forty nine BMW Centers have completed the BMW Future Retail Design. Another 114 of BMW’s 341 U.S. dealerships are either building new stores or refurbishing existing show rooms.
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Perhaps the best example of the BMW Future Retail Design is BMW Of Manhattan, which BMWBLOG toured right after BMW’s flagship’s redesign was complete. BMW’s new bright white, open design has a feel similar to an Apple Store replete with BMW Geniuses who can help you understand the ever increasing tech-oriented BMWs. From a consumer standpoint, it’s a great benefit to go and learn about BMW cars without the traditional “United States car sales pressures.” Once a customer has learned about their desired BMW enough, the customer can then be introduced to someone in sales who will help them acquire their desired BMW.
This month, Hendrick Automotive Group opened an all-new BMW dealership – BMW of Kansas City South. Being a ground up all-new dealership, it was built from the outset under BMW’s new dealership design standards. BMW tells BMWBLOG that there are no specific annual number of new dealerships BMW opens in the United States a year, it all depends on demand and how markets around the country develop.
John Desmond, Hendrick Automotive Group, told Kansas City Business Journal, ”BMW wanted to create a retail environment, not necessarily just a car sales and service environment.” The new dealership was modeled and designed after one of BMW’s first next-generation stores in Liverpool, England. BMW divides the United States into four geographic territories and put one pilot dealership in each territory. BMW of South Kansas City is one of the four.
Entering the dealership reveals long linear showroom with tall ceilings, stark white walls, high intensity canned lights and large window bays which lend a very open, bright and clean showroom. Scattered along the inside are natural wood partial cubicles and black leather seating areas. Salespersons desks are situated in open areas, these low walled two sided cubicles instead of closed off sales offices of old. The new showroom can hold at least a dozen BMWs and at the end has an all glass delivery bay including an electric car charger.
At the entry of the showroom is the BMW Genius bar. It really reminds me a lot of coffee bar that you might find at the BMW Welt. There are conveniently located charging outlets on the coffee bar and nice TVs. Here you can grab an espresso, some fruit and then wander off into the open airy gift shop. Just past the gift shop are the document rooms and then the service entrance.
I did talk with the BMW genius at this new dealership and asked “how to run Spotify through my BMW Connected app.” His eyes narrowed for a second and then looked up at me. “I need to go get a Lightning cable.” He returned and then we sat down in a BMW i3 REx. We plugged my iPhone in and fired up my BMW Connected app. In just a few minutes he had my Spotify running perfectly. He aptly said, Spotify runs best if you just tether your phone and run the app outside BMW Connected/ BMW Apps.
The service bay drop off is drive-in drive-out garage, so that the customer can get out their car and not be exposed to the elements. The floor of the service area drop off is a tiled with an automotive grade non-slip subway style tiles and has six gorgeous glass roll-up garage doors. Inside the actual automotive service area, work stations were designed with efficiency in mind with all the most common fluids that the technician could need being delivered via hoses hanging over head of the Rotary Lifts.
Outside the dealership is a large new BMW lot, a CPO and used section, and I even noticed three electric car chargers. There are two ChargeNow charge point J1772 EVSE type chargers as well as one DC Combo Charger – “a service from BMW i.” BMW has been working to standardize the corporate image of its retail centers and how BMW customers interact with service and sales.
Having now seen several fully functional examples now, it’s a clean bright efficient look and should serve BMW well for a long time.