With prospective car buyers eager to avoid showrooms – 75% of respondents in a 2015 eight-country Accenture study would consider conducting their entire car-buying process online if given the opportunity – Ford is expanding its presence by moving into shopping malls. This follows the lead of Californian electric-car maker Tesla, which relies on what it refers to as mall ‘galleries’, and most recently a small shop-in-shop at US department store Nordstrom’s LA flagship, where it installed its Model X SUV in a 400 sq ft space.
- Lincoln Experience Centre – Relaxed Browsing: Ford’s luxury-focused sub-brand Lincoln has opened a space in an upscale shopping centre in Newport Beach, Southern California. Visitors can learn about the brand, test-drive vehicles and digitally explore configuration options. They can also relax in a lounge area with complimentary beverages and attend events such as evenings with local artists and musicians.
- FordHubs – Innovation-Focused: These stores will be themed around mobility to illustrate the brand’s engineering prowess and new innovations (including new mobility options), as well as its broader focus on transportation issues. The first is set to debut in December 2016 at New York’s new Westfield World Trade Centre, with future openings planned for London, San Francisco and Shanghai. Events will be restricted to people with FordPass – an app (not just for those who own a Ford vehicle) which, via key partnerships, allows users to locate and pay for parking, receive vehicle assistance, get directions and even access products. See also The Supportive Sell.
See also New Directions in Auto Marketing and Innovations in Automotive Retail.