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PHOTO CAPTION: BMW's South Coast Plaza showroom. Photo credit: Automotive News

BMW Mall Pop-Up Shop Follows Tesla's Lead

At BMW of North America, the Future of Retail now includes going head-to-head with Tesla Motors showrooms, starting quietly in California.

Published: 23-Mar-2015

Quietly last four months, BMW of North America opened up the first of what it is planning to be scores of automotive pop-up boutiques in Costa Mesa, California's South Coast Plaza, featuring the i8 electric hybrid. While nearly identical in concept to Tesla Motor's own retailing strategy of showcasing its electric cars in strategic, up-scale shopping malls, the German luxury car maker doesn't sell cars from the facility. Instead, shoppers can sign up for test drives at local BMW dealerships.

Reports Automotive News, BMW eventually wants all its nearly 340 US dealers to participate its Future of Retail program by 2019, where similar showcases are opened in their respective cities.

Of course, the focus won't necessarily be on BMW's i-Series of electric drive vehicles. Other models will be featured and presumably rotated on a regular basis. The stores themselves are nearly mirror images of Tesla showrooms, which borrowed heavily from Apple Stores. The emphasis is on "digital tools and clean, cool environment." The Future of Retail initiative also extends to revamping its dealerships nationwide and introducing "programs and apps to offer customers an opportunity to 'learn, try and buy.'

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