In another sign that the automotive industry is changing and adjusting to the habits of its customers, Volkswagen UK will open its first store next month in the city of Birmingham. The new retail concept will offer shoppers the opportunity to browse and buy from the extensive Volkswagen range of passenger cars in the environment where they shop regularly.
Birmingham’s Bullring shopping centre houses the new Volkswagen store. With an annual footfall of 36 million people, and situated in the heart of the UK’s second largest city, the VW says the Bullring is an ideal location for the company to develop the new retailing venture.
Partnering Volkswagen in the project is Johnsons Cars, which was formed in 1999 and has run Johnsons Volkswagen Retailers in the Birmingham area since 2004. The company will bring its experience in automotive retailing to the new Johnsons Volkswagen Bullring Birmingham store.
VW says consumer behaviour continues to change and that the evolving landscape has inspired its move into this new area of retail. Convenience is at the heart of the store concept, and it opens up the opportunity for customers to conduct everything from initial enquiries to the purchase of a new or pre-owned Volkswagen car while they are in the shopping centre.
Shoppers popping into the Bullring store will encounter a variety of displays that highlight Volkswagen’s advanced in-car technology. They will also be able to experience the cars first hand by sitting in the various Volkswagens that will be on display in the store. The vehicle selection will be refreshed frequently in order to keep the new store right up to date.
Test driving a new car is as important as ever and Volkswagen says it has ensured that this is easy to do with a dedicated test drive area for the store located just a brief walk away.
As well as ordering a new car, customers can opt to purchase a used car from Volkswagen’s ‘Das WeltAuto’ Approved Used car scheme at the store. The brand’s Blended Retail system provides the basis for the Das WeltAuto vehicles to be shown to customers.
Blended Retailing combines the digital and physical elements of car sales and allows a customer to begin the purchase decision either online at www.volkswagen.co.uk or in store.
Motability sales, as well as Volkswagen’s comprehensive vehicle accessories and official merchandise, will also feature in the new Bullring store.
“Setting up Johnsons Volkswagen Bullring Birmingham has been an exciting project and we can’t wait to open the doors to the public next month,” said Alison Jones, Director of Volkswagen Passenger Cars. “The store allows us to try out new ways of bringing our cutting-edge products and technologies to the public in their usual retail environment.
“The store is very much a long-term pilot that we will learn much from. It is all about presenting our cars and services to the public in a place that is really convenient for them, and it will sit alongside the wide network of Volkswagen Retailers across the UK that represent the heart of our business.”