Volkswagen readies first retail store for opening
Birmingham’s Bullring shopping centre houses the smart new Volkswagen store. With an annual footfall of 36 million people, and situated in the heart of the UK’s second largest city, the Bullring is an ideal location for Volkswagen to develop this exciting 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.
Consumer behaviour continues to change and that evolving landscape has inspired Volkswagen’s 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.
A clear focus on meeting customers’ changing needs was central in the design and development of the store. Volkswagen and its retail design agency Dalziel & Pow wanted to create an experience that made the process of buying and owning a car as easy and straightforward as possible. The result is a refreshing design that creates another ‘landmark Retailer’ for the Volkswagen brand, alongside its flagship Volkswagen West London site.
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 has ensured that this is easy to do at the Bullring Birmingham. The dedicated test drive area for the store is located just a brief walk away. Once there, the customer will be shown around the vehicle before setting off on their drive.
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 award-winning 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 the award-winning 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.
Alison Jones, Director of Volkswagen Passenger Cars, said: “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. 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.”
Alison added: “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.”
Mike Berwick, Operations Director of Johnsons Cars, said: “This is a completely new retail format and way of going to the market, and so it is exciting for us to work with Volkswagen on this project. This store will complement our existing five Volkswagen retail locations and the combination will allow us to expand our customer service offers both in sales and aftersales.”
Mike added: “We have set a very competitive ‘no haggle’ pricing model. This will remove the stress experienced by some from the typical showroom visit and will allow us to speed up the enquiry and sales process, therefore delivering a better experience for shoppers.”
Michaela Moore, General Manager of Bullring Birmingham, said: “Volkswagen joining the centre is a real coup for us. We were excited by the new store concept and, with their additional offering of onsite test drives, we think it will be a real hit with our shoppers.”
Johnsons Volkswagen Bullring Birmingham will open its doors to the public on Friday 7 July. It will be open from 10am to 8pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm Saturday and 11am to 5pm on Sundays.