Franchised car retailers need to start thinking about tailoring outlets to the needs of the immediate area, according to Sytner Group chief executive Laurence Vaughan.
Sytner has opened the BMW Store in Cheapside at the centre of the City square mile in London. It is on several floors, and geared to meet the needs of walk-in potential customers. Mr Vaughan said: “We believe this will be a big success in an area where most people travel to work by public transport.
“We intend to apply the same sort of thinking in the rest of the group. The idea is to meet the needs of people who want to buy our cars, wherever they are.”
Mr Vaughan was encouraged by the early level of interest in the BMW Store. The group had invested £800,000 in fittings in the former bank building.
Sytner Group has a long association with BMW which believed its experience and ability to invest was important in the City.
The Store, the first of its kind in Europe, stocks a wide range of BMW lifestyle clothing and accessories. In an internet cafe, customers can view the Sytner Group's entire stock of around 1,000 new BMWs. The £20m stock of used cars can also be browsed.
One new BMW is displayed, and the model is changed often to encourage people to call in. A video wall features footage of every BMW model series.
Warren Brearley, BMW Store dealer principal, is also responsible for the Group's City BMW dealership in nearby Paul Street.
Abby Packwood, the BMW Store manager, was previously concession manager for Mulberry at Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge.