Is clinker a clunker? Depends on whom you ask

Donna Harris covers automotive retailing for Automotive News.

When talk turns to factory pressure to improve dealerships, dealers have plenty of complaints. But one requirement in particular seems to be getting under dealers’ skin these days.

Automotive News did an informal focus group with dealers at the recent National Automobile Dealers Association convention in San Francisco and it turns out one of the dealers’ pet peeves has to do with tile. Yes, tile. Some dealers complain that their factories say the floor tile has to be just the right color or a specific brand. Or that it has to be purchased from a certain vendor.

One of the most costly types of tile is the clinker tile -- also known as klinker It’s a natural clay tile that’s water-resistant and it’s advertised by at least one vendor as the “most acclaimed commercial tile” available.

Maybe that’s why BMW requires dealers to use clinker tile in the service department.

BMW dealers differ on whether it’s worth the money. I was just talking with a dealer the other day who told me he spent $4 million to renovate a dealership -- $300,000 of it for the service department entrance that was paved with clinker tile.

“Oh, but it’s a beautiful building,” he said.

I sure hope his customers think so.

ATTENTION COMMENTERS: Automotive News has monitored a significant increase in the number of personal attacks and abusive comments on our site. We encourage our readers to voice their opinions and argue their points. We expect disagreement. We do not expect our readers to turn on each other. We will be aggressively deleting all comments that personally attack another poster, or an article author, even if the comment is otherwise a well-argued observation. If we see repeated behavior, we will ban the commenter. Please help us maintain a civil level of discourse.

Email Newsletters
  • General newsletters
  • (Weekdays)
  • (Mondays)
  • (As needed)
  • Video newscasts
  • (Weekdays)
  • (Weekdays)
  • (Saturdays)
  • Special interest newsletters
  • (Thursdays)
  • (Tuesdays)
  • (Monthly)
  • (Monthly)
  • (Wednesdays)
  • (Bimonthly)
  • Special reports
  • (As needed)
  • (As needed)
  • Communication preferences
  • You can unsubscribe at any time through links in these emails. For more information, see our Privacy Policy.