BMW is copying Tesla’s mall strategy, plain and simple. Of course, it could be argued that Tesla copied Apple’s retail design, plain and simple. Ergo, BMW is copying Apple, plain and simple.
Does this suggest big change in auto retailing? If this trend spreads to other marques — and Lexus is tempted, FYI — will we have a cluster of auto “galleries” in a special section of the mall, akin to a food court? And maybe a special section of the parking lot or garage dedicated to car inventory? Nah. Warren Buffett doesn’t think the old-fashioned car dealership is going away during his lifetime.* He’s buying up auto retailers without a worry.
However . . .
The latest and greatest car dealerships offer accoutrements unheard-of a few years ago. They’re turning to mini-malls in themselves. Maybe beyond. They have cafes, workout areas, showers, daycare, pet care, nail salons, video games, back massage, bowling, knitting classes, batting cages, tongue piercing, guitar lessons, burial service, eye exams, square dancing, tennis, prostate massage, olympic pools, cave exploration, rhinoplasty, helicopter rides, cart racing, saunas, water skiing, rock climbing and base jumping.
So maybe we’re witnessing a convergence of mall and auto dealer. Impossible? Don’t forget, even the continents shift, so there’s hope for auto retailing. It might budge a few inches per year until it collides with mall retailing and forms a whole new continent where you can have your tires rotated and be assaulted by kiosk creatures trying to sell hand lotion.
* Stop thinking what you’re thinking.