VOLKSWAGEN is to open its first store next month – to be housed in Birmingham’s Bullring shopping centre.
With an annual footfall of 36 million people and situated in the heart of the UK’s second largest city, the Bullring is seen as an ideal location for VW to develop the new retailing venture. Partnering it is Johnsons Cars, which was formed in 1999 and has run Johnsons Volkswagen Retailers in the Birmingham area since 2004.
Scheduled to open on July 7 and creating 17 jobs, the 1,921 sq ft retail space will give people the chance to browse and buy from the VW range of passenger cars in the environment where they shop regularly.
There will be 10 car parking spaces for dedicated test drives, with the test drive area a brief walk away. Once there, the customer will be shown around the vehicle before setting off on their drive.
Alison Jones, director of Volkswagen Passenger Cars, said: ‘Setting up Johnsons Volkswagen Bullring Birmingham has been an exciting project and we can’t wait to open the doors to the public next month. The store allows us to try out new ways of bringing our cutting-edge products and technologies to the public in their usual retail environment.
‘The store is very much a long-term pilot that we will learn much from. It is all about presenting our cars and services to the public in a place that is really convenient for them, and it will sit alongside the wide network of Volkswagen retailers across the UK that represent the heart of our business.’
Mike Berwick, operations director of Johnsons Cars, said: ‘This is a completely new retail format and way of going to the market, so it is exciting for us to work with Volkswagen on this project. This store will complement our existing five Volkswagen retail locations and the combination will allow us to expand our customer service offers both in sales and aftersales.
‘We have set a very competitive “no haggle” pricing model, which will remove the stress experienced by some from the typical showroom visit and will allow us to speed up the inquiry and sales process, therefore delivering a better experience for shoppers.’
Michaela Moore, general manager of Bullring Birmingham, said: ‘Volkswagen joining the centre is a real coup for us. We were excited by the new store concept and, with their additional offering of on-site test drives, we think it will be a real hit with our shoppers.’
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