Over the past few years, just about every car brand in the U.S. has ordered a redo of dealership facilities at a cost of tens of millions of dollars, regardless of how those stores looked.
And there are still more facility makeovers being required by carmakers.
I have never quite understood why all dealerships of a certain brand have to look the same — like McDonald's. It used to be that every time a new general manager took over a store, you'd see a new look or maybe new advertising.
But uniformity is what the manufacturers want these days. Those are the rules, and when you play with someone else's bat and ball, you stick to their rules.
Neither have I understood how all the money spent on remodeling dealership facades helps sell vehicles. I always felt there were better ways to spend marketing money — ways that might actually sell a few cars.
Granted, there were once hundreds of dealerships across the country that needed to be remodeled, but the vast majority seemed to be perfectly fine.
These days, as more and more shopping is done online, the first impression you make to the public online may be more important than the physical facade. And there should be a universal look as customers search through the web pages representing each department.
A factory or a dealership can change its digital look as often as it wishes, and it will cost a lot less than changing the brick and mortar.
The Internet has given dealers across the country an opportunity to display themselves the way they want and the ability to make changes when they want. It is a brand-new art form for the automobile retailer and an important one.
It's just one more skill a dealer needs to possess today. So be sure to keep all the skills that go with running a store that you acquired over a lifetime — and be ready to add a few more. That's what makes this business so interesting.