While it’s not clear quite what forms it will take in the coming years, it’s almost certain that the car dealership cannot thrive if it looks, feels and operates as it does today.
So, we’ve been having a think about what functions the dealership of the near future will need in order to perform, and what its optimum layout might be in order to enable this functionality.
Before we did that, we considered what the limitations of a typical dealership are today – namely:
- Built outside or on the edges of urban conurbations
- Not easily repurposed – i.e. very specific in function.
Supermarket chains that wish to expand into urban areas face a number of related challenges: high land prices, a lack of available space and intense competition from planning proposals for other types of development – particularly housing and retail.
Some attempt to counter these challenges by proposing mixed-use towers with residential space above and retail space below. The supermarket therefore becomes a service to those living above it, as well as those around it, and the business benefits from the journeys of the residents whose homes it shares a footprint with.
With car ownership going down but distances travelled by car going up, we wonder if similar principles could be applied to the dealership of tomorrow? Could it become something that’s at the heart of the community, rather than at the far edges of it?