DUBLIN, Ohio -- It took $100,000 and a high-powered design company to turn hybrid technology into a destination at Germain Lexus here in central Dublin, near Columbus.
Before the futuristic hybrid displays were installed in late September, many visitors to Germain Lexus of Dublin walked past the hybrid models, unaware the dealership sold hybrids.
Through commercials and marketing, Lexus "is doing a great job with all these hybrids," said Roberto Vazquez, general sales manager at Germain Lexus, "and I started thinking: 'What are we doing to create that interest when somebody walks in?'"
With the launch of the HS 250h the dealership looked for a way to boost hybrid sales and call attention to the newest product. The result is a dramatic -- and expensive -- exhibit, a showcase that looks like a giant car cutaway.
The displays of two hybrid vehicles explain the ABCs of alternative powertrains, including how the vehicles operate, the estimated fuel savings and the ways a hybrid can help the environment.
"It is a conversation-starter when somebody walks in," said Rick Germain, COO of Germain Motor Co., which owns the dealership.
Last May, Germain contacted Chute Gerdeman Retail, a design company in Columbus, about creating the display. Chute Gerdeman was known for designing store and restaurant displays and previously did work for RadioShack and Reebok.
Germain "wanted to create a new showroom experience that is primarily focused around the introduction of the HS 250h," said Matt Jeffries, senior brand communications designer at Chute Gerdeman. "We wanted the showroom experience to be exciting for the shopper. We also wanted it to be a selling device for his team."