Seat has opened a retail 'Store' dealership at the Intu Lakeside shopping centre.
The venture, in association with Group 1 Automotive, officially opened on September 1.
The firm’s first store concept gives the brand further coverage in the highly competitive London and M25 area, as well as access to Intu Lakeside’s 26 million annual customers.
Richard Harrison, director, Seat UK, said: “Our new store is a world first for us, and I’m delighted to be working with Group 1 Automotive to deliver such an exciting venture. We are passionate about finding ways to make it even easier for people to discover and fall in love with our award winning range of cars. With a great team of product experts on board, a stunning new store and experience centre, and the all new Seat Ateca also launching next week, I am sure the millions of shoppers visitin Intu Lakeside are in for a real treat!”.
Darren Guiver, deputy managing director at Group 1 Automotive, added: “We’re really excited to be the first car retail store at Intu Lakeside, and working closely with the Seat team to deliver this exciting new concept.”
The new 150m² Seat store includes three display cars, complete with an outdoor Experience Centre housing an additional 16 models to be explored and test driven. The store’s arrival has also led to the creation of 13 permanent, full-time local jobs.
In keeping with the traditional relaxed and browsing-oriented retail environment, customers can choose to do as much, or as little, of the buying process as they wish. They have the option of researching through eight 22-inch digital info “hubs”, where they can also configure and explore financing options, arrange test drives for that moment, or for a future point in time, and get their trade-in car valued.
Test drives can be taken unaccompanied, possibly with friends and family on board.
Seat Store Lakeside will have a number of models available for delivery seven days from the time of order (subject to finance approval).
13 highly-trained Seat Experts staffing the store have completed an intensive raining course on brand and product knowledge, plus customer behavioural and experience sessions, including an extensive induction in Barcelona.
The 'experts' are on retail salaries, benchmarked against high-end stores in the Intu Lakeside centre.
Group 1 currently operates two Seat franchises, in Watford and Hatfield.
The store will be open from 10am-10pm Mon-Fri, 9am-9pm Sat, 11am-5pm Sun. A servicing provision will follow.
The move follows similar ventures by Hyundai and Rockar in Bluewater and Westfield shopping centres.