Kia UK customers are experiencing the Korean brand’s new corporate identity (CI) for the first time ahead of the official opening of its redeveloped dealership in Bolton.
AM paid a visit to the upgraded facility on The Linkway, Horwich, which is adjacent to Bolton Wanderers’ Macron Stadium and Middlebrook Retail and Leisure Park, to see the new-look facility.
The new site will get an official opening event on the day of the AM Awards 2022, on May 12, but customers are already perusing its showroom.
Kia Bolton marketing manager Lynsey Smethurst described the changes as a “dramatic shift for the brand” and said that, while some finishing touches were still being applied, customers were “really keen to come in and take a look”.
In the latest (April) digital edition of AM magazine Kia Motors UK president and chief executive Paul Philpott revealed that the new CI, pioneered at Bolton and by Vertu’s Macklin Motors dealership in Edinburgh, would be introduced at 40 to 50 UK retail sites this year ahead of a targeted 2024 completion date.
And he said that it felty like the right time to ask Kia’s franchisees to invest, as the brand looked to defy supply constraints to deliver on a 100,000 registrations record in 2022 after franchisees achieved their strongest ever return on sales (RoS) figure in 2021, at 2.7%.
Kia’s new CI sees the brands dealerships split into two distinct zones.
One area of the showroom is defined as the display zone, while another – demarcated by wooden flooring, wooden walls and in some cases wooden wraparound ceilings – is a customer experience area featuring a number of screens which give access to the GForces-powered Showcase system.
Showcase is a GForces product capable of showcasing Kia’s entire product range.
“If the average showroom has got eight cars in it, well, we've got 10 different models in our line-up, so it’s just not possible to show everything in any of our showrooms”, said Philpott.
“This enables the customer to really engage with the whole product range. And if they've built a car online through kia.com they can then save that and call it up in the showroom environment as well.”
Kia Bolton benefits from a separate service facility on the nearby Futura Park, which is also destined to recieve a CI upgrade.
The nearby Middlebrook Retail and Leisure Park is the largest integrated and sustainable employment, leisure, sports and retail scheme in the UK, meanwhile.
Smethurst told AM that, while the site is not surrounded by other car retailers “there’s lots for our customers to do and our location means there’s the opportunity for people to make a visit to the Kia dealership part of their shopping trip.”