Are car stores at shopping centres set to change the way we buy cars, as more car manufacturers jump on board?
SEAT has announced this week the opening of its new store at the Intu Lakeside Shopping Centre, Essex, sitting alongside high street brands such as WHSmiths, Primark and Next.
The opening comes just a week after Jaguar Land Rover confirmed that in early October 2016, they will be joining Hyundai at the Westfields Shopping Centre, Stratford.
The SEAT store is run and operated by existing franchise partner, Group 1 Automotive, who aim to provide an experience centre and haggle free environment. There are up to 16 cars available for on-site test drives and you are guaranteed delivery of your new car within seven days from ordering (subject to finance of course).
Hyundai was the first car maker, in conjunction with Rockar, to boldly mix it with the world of fashion by opening a store at the high-end Bluewater Shopping Centre, Kent in November 2014. In the first six months, the store had over 100,000 visitors, with a total of 163,000 passing through the doors by the end of the first year. Hyundai says that 94% of visitors were new to the brand.
Hyundai’s venture was so successful that it opened a second store, also with Rockar, in December 2015 at the Westfield Shopping Centre in Stratford.
Rockar, who started up in 2012 aim offer customers a simpler way to buy cars, providing a fully-online car buying service. Its stores are staffed by “Angels” who provide guidance and assistance without the salesman jargon, removing the pressure of car buying and negotiation. Online, you can select, spec and buy your new car, arrange finance, as well as part-exchange you existing car. It also allows you to track the progress of your car right up to delivery.
Jaguar, who has also partnered with Rockar, customers can buy cars online from 7 September 2016 with the Westfields store opening on 4 October 2016.
Westfields Stratford gets 42 million* visitors per year, has 358 outlets and 5,000 parking spaces, while Bluewater gets 28 million* visitors, has 330 stores and 13,000 parking spaces. Intu Lakeside gets 26 million* visitors, has 249 stores and 13,000 parking spaces.