Driving upside down along the second floor roof-top of the Mini Garage, a bright red Mini is turning heads in the heart of Ponsonby. The car appears to defy the forces of gravity. But it’s really just a 160kg fibreglass shell that the BMW designers in Germany have created to draw attention to this fun, lifestyle brand.
The “pop-up” store on the corner of Ponsonby Rd and MacKelvie Street is a new sales concept that challenges traditional thinking by moving away from the car yard to a more interactive sales process where customers can personalize their cars. The aim of the project is to create a more customer-focused retail concept.
Responsible for putting the project together in New Zealand, BMW marketing services manager Dave Hewitt says, because the company doesn’t own the land, the store structure needed to be temporary. BMW has the lease of the site for a year though it may extend beyond that, depending on the owner of the site.
“The facility was designed in Germany by BMW’s inhouse architects and fabricated in Europe then shipped to New Zealand in six 40 foot containers which we unpacked and took to the site to put it together. It took between six to seven weeks in total to build. Everything inside was also designed by BMW’s designers.”
The two-storey outlet houses offices, an events area, a café and interactive kiosks in the Mini Hub. This area features a series of touch screen televisions suspended within a large, bright orange light frame where customers can sit down in partnership with sales agents to configure the car they want. “We’re trying to do things differently to take away what some perceive as the niggly stuff and to make the sales process more easy and enjoyable.”