A ‘hassle-free’ showroom where staff are forbidden from selling you a car opens in Britain this weekend.
As an antidote to high-pressure hard-sell tactics, customers can look over models on offer, take advice from non-commissioned specialists, configure their ideal vehicle on screens, and even take a road test. But they can only buy their car online – either from the comfort of their own home and in their own time, or with non-pressured guidance in-store.
The compact boutique-style showroom will have example cars on display for customers to view, sit inside, and ‘kick the tyres’, but will not hold vehicles to sell, so staff will not be under pressure to ‘shift stock’ or push customers towards cars that don’t exactly meet their needs or desires, in order to meet bonuses or targets.
‘Hassle-free’ car sales: Polestar will open its new showroom in Westfield Shopping Centre in West London on Saturday – and in-store staff are forbidden from selling the vehicles
The novel approach is the brainchild of Swedish electric performance car firm Polestar – founded by its sibling Volvo Cars and their Chinese parent company Geely – which is opening its first UK ‘Space’ at the Westfield Shopping Centre in West London on Saturday.
The pure-electric Polestar 2 is available to order now priced from £46,900 after deduction of the £3,000 government plug-in grant
Announcing the Saturday opening, the firm said: ‘Polestar Specialists, acting as brand ambassadors on a non-commission basis, will engage with and inform customers about the company and its products.
‘Test drives can be conducted on-site, deliveries can be scheduled to home or office addresses and there is no stock held to try and persuade buyers away from their desired configuration.’
Vehicles on display are lit with specially designed light-boxes to guarantee photographic studio-quality light without distracting shadows.
Walls on either side of the vehicle display large format art featuring Polestar products as well as interactive LED display screens.
Polestar says the store offers an antidote to high-pressure hard-sell tactics
Customers can look over models on offer, take advice from non-commissioned specialists, configure their ideal vehicle on screens, and even take a road test
Buyers, however, can only place orders and purchase their car online – either from the comfort of their own home and in their own time, or with non-pressured guidance in-store
Prospective customers who want to configure a potential car are guided to a free-standing table, inspired by design-house cutting tables.
Customers can choose and physically place items of trim they like onto the table surface where radio frequency tags ‘read’ what it is and add it to the image on the display screen. This way they can build up their own specification of car.
Once the design is perfected, it can be transferred electronically to the customer’s smart-phone, tablet or other compatible device without them even pressing a button.
The firm noted: ’Those wishing to order or reserve a Polestar can complete the process through the Polestar App or website either in the comfort of their own home in their own time, or with the guidance of a Polestar Specialist in their chosen Space.’
Polestar bosses said London was chosen for the first UK Polestar Space because the nation’s largest city is home to nine million inhabitants, but with twice as many people visiting the capital each year.
The compact boutique-style showroom will have example cars on display for customers to view, sit inside, and ‘kick the tyres’
The store, called Polestar Space, will ‘change the face of automotive retail’, bosses said
Westfield London was chosen because it welcomes 31 million retail visitors annually, of which nearly 70 per cent are female and more than 80 per cent aged between 18 and 54.
Polestar says it is on track to open in more than 40 global in shopping malls and metropolitan towns and cities
before the end of the year. Other UK locations – such as Manchester, Glasgow, and Birmingham – are possible contenders to follow though none are yet announced nor confirmed.
Jonathan Goodman, head of Polestar UK said: ‘The Polestar Space is our way of changing the face of automotive retail.
‘With no salespeople and no vehicles on the forecourt, there is no hard sell, no requirement to shift stock and an entirely customer-focussed journey.
‘Visitors will define how much they interact with the exhibits. Polestar Specialists will tailor their experience to the customer’s exact needs, not the brand’s.
‘Once they have found the perfect specification, seamless digital interactivity places the vehicle in the customer’s app, ready to be ordered when it suits them.’
He insisted: ‘We will put the fun back into buying a car!’
Potential buyers can climb aboard the electric cars to have a poke around and experience the infotainment systems
Vehicles on display are lit with specially designed light-boxes to guarantee photographic studio-quality light without distracting shadows
Walls on either side of the vehicle display large format art featuring Polestar products as well as interactive LED display screens
Polestar chief executive Thomas Ingenlath said: ‘The Polestar Space in London has the perfect location, right at the heart of where people shop and relax. For us, performance isn’t just about great driving dynamics, it is also about the experience customers have in choosing their perfect Polestar and the excitement of living with it every day.’
Polestar was launched in launched in 2017 with its limited edition £139,000 Polestar 1 ‘halo car’ – a low-volume 609hp electric hybrid performance GT with an electric-only range of 77 miles.
Last year it unveiled the all-electric 408 horse-power Polestar2, a 127mph all-wheel drive fastback with a 78kWh battery pack and a range of 292 miles costing from under £50,000.
A fully electric Polestar 3 sports utility vehicle is to follow.
Earlier this year it released the Precept – a sporty concept vehicle designed to showcase the brand’s future vision.
Each Polestar Space will become part of a network and foster a community, hosting talks and exhibitions, from design and architecture to technology and of course automotive.
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