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Brief Published: 25 Jun 2018

Hyundai Flagship Reimagines the Car Dealership

OMA’s Hyundai showroom

Hyundai is redefining the prime purpose of the traditional dealership from sales venue to exclusive backdrop for brand storytelling, acknowledging shifts in consumer behaviour towards researching online and visiting stores for assurance and experiences.

South Korean luxury car brand Genesis – owned by Hyundai – has unveiled a pioneering flagship store in Seoul that conveys feelings of privacy and intimacy. It focuses on gradual discovery – the consciously cryptic façade only gives glimpses of vehicles peeking out between concrete walls. This runs counter to typical dealership design, which features large windows that disclose the entire store interior in once glance.

Meanwhile, a muted colour palette and minimalistic materials such as concrete, glass and steel create a dramatic interior ambience. Cars are displayed against grey concrete walls dotted randomly throughout the space, encouraging exploration. Technology takes a back seat, offered discreetly through an augmented reality app and self-service model configurator kiosk.

Designed by Dutch architecture practice AMO, the showroom is completely free of advertising messages and sales pressure. Consumers who want to buy a vehicle can do so via tablets in secluded coves.

 Ninety per cent of today’s customers who visit a car store have already researched and sometimes chosen models online in advance – visiting flagships for assurance and exclusive brand experiences (AMO, 2018).

To connect with consumers who are intimidated by traditional dealerships, new challenger brands are creating ‘dwell, discover and buy whenever’ showrooms evoking the explorative nature of galleries. Explore Augmenting Automotive Retail for more on this.

See also Rise of the Exploratorium for more on consumers’ desire for discovery-led spaces.