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I spotted this on auto.com . I wonder what the Volvo dealerships will be like?<P>Ford has upscale vision for luxury dealerships <P>February 6, 2001<P>BY MICHAEL ELLIS<BR>REUTERS<P>LAS VEGAS -- Is this the end of the giant inflatable gorillas and strings of balloons outside of at least some car dealerships?<P><BR>Ford Motor Co. sees a day when its high-end brands Lincoln, Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover and Aston Martin will be sold at dealerships that resemble upscale retailers such as Tiffany and Gucci.<P><BR>Most dealerships now look like a "parking lot with a roof on top," Wolfgang Reitzle, who oversees Ford's five luxury brands, said at the Los Angeles auto show last month.<P><BR>"No wonder so many people don't want to go to a car dealership in this country. Even the super luxury brands have simple, uninspiring dealerships."<P><BR>Ford plans to group its five luxury brands together in shopping mall-like dealerships that will immerse customers in the distinct identity of each brand -- such as Jaguar's racing heritage and Land Rover's go-anywhere capability.<P><BR>By sharing back-office operations, the brands will be able to cut costs and offer additional amenities, such as on- and off-road driving courses, cafes and vehicle customization services, officials said.<P><BR>The first dealership to offer Ford's vision will break ground soon on 40 acres of land in north Scottsdale, Ariz., under the ownership of the publicly-traded United Auto Group Inc.<P><BR>"If you think of an upscale mall, where you see a Tiffany, a Saks and a Brooks Brothers, as you go through each door of a retailer, you have a different experience," Hartz said.<P><BR>Grouping the brands together will allow Ford to offer consumers a wide range of vehicles, without changing the focus of each individual brand, officials said. For example, Land Rover's upscale sport utility vehicles will be in a store next to Jaguar's curvaceous coupes and sedans.<P><BR>The luxury superstores are part of Ford's efforts to transform the car-buying experience at its dealerships. Despite the hype of selling vehicles over the Internet, about 99 percent of car buyers still visit a dealership when they buy a new car or truck, according to CNW Marketing/Research.<P><BR>"You can't experience kicking tires on the Internet," said Saad Chehab, who manages dealership design and construction for Ford.<P><BR>Ford has also designed a new look for its Lincoln dealerships that is intended to convey a more consistent image that will boost its identity in an increasingly competitive marketplace, Chehab said.<P><BR>About 10 of Lincoln's 2,400 dealerships are already undergoing the face-lift, Chehab said. Another 300 are considering the new look, and Lincoln also plans to open its first two dealerships in Britain. About 800 of the Lincoln dealerships sell only the Lincoln brand.<P><BR>At a cost averaging about $500,000 to $600,000 for most dealerships, the new Lincoln look includes 30-foot sandstone arches framing a granite entryway. Inside, many of the dealerships will have a retail boutique offering upscale accessories such as clothing, watches and keychains that will add an elegant image for the Lincoln brand.<P><BR>"We don't have a consistent image. All of these successful retailers out there, they have a consistent image," Chehab said.<BR>
 

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Alright, no response, but I think this is significant. Volvo will be packaged in these dealers I would assume, alongside Jag, Lincoln, Land Rover and Aston Martin. I think that's pretty cool. Those brands are growing and will only help expose Volvo to other buyers. <P>Has anyone else seen that Jag X-type? That car looks awesome. I read that they are goign to do a supercharged XR. Nice.
 

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They are already upgrading the Lincoln Dealer where I live. It is getting a new coat of paint and a new look as we speak. Also, about 6 months ago, the Volvo dealer moved right next door to the Lincoln dealership. The word on the street is that BMW will be moving in soon right next door as well. All the Volvo dealers are supposed to be getting a Scandinavian design theme with light wood floors and brushed aluminum office furniture. It will look like an upscale store basically.<P>-Drew
 

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Those Volvo dealerships sound pretty cool. Ford's approach to marketing is very very interesting.<P>I wonder though, where they'll go with Lincoln as a brand. You have to figure that cars like the Continental and Town Car are big sellers for them, though they are really automotive dinosaurs IMHO. <P>The LS is a nice car, but they need more than the LS to be thought of as a contender against luxury offerings from Europe and Japan.
 

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Well that means that Ford and VW have a clue. I think VW clued-in last year when they announced their new retailer design.<P>But Ford, with a large number of unique marques under it's banner, that should be an interesting shopping experience.<P>I wonder if GM or DC have plans for this type of dealership?
 

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Yeah right. Besides Saturn, GM is a mess. MB isn't bad but Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge dealers are kind of boring. I have noticed a few Chrysler dealers putting one of each model in silver in front of the dealer, which is kind of cool, like their ads, but still its not doing anything for me.<P>GM should either widen Saab or bring over another European brand like Opel. European cars are big, and they could do a run like Ford's PAG brands and do dealers with Saab, Opel, Alfa Romeo and Maserati.
 
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