Nissan thinks it has found a better way to sell cars, and it involves stripping showrooms of everything but the cars and sales team. The brand calls the experiment the Nissan New Retail Concept, and it might get tested in the US in a few years.

The concept is relatively simple. Showrooms ditch offices, reception counters, cubicles and desks. Instead salespeople walk around inside and outside the dealer with mobile devices to assist customers and even complete sales. Associates are trained to take immediate responsibility for each visitor they encounter. For example, if owners comes inside with a problem with their vehicle, the employee escorts them to the service department and introduces them.

A dealer in London has been testing the new layout for the last nine months, and so far it reports better customer satisfaction, loyalty and most importantly higher sales. Nissan next plans to launch test stores in Moscow and Stuttgart. Then it will broaden out to more of Western Europe and finally will be tested in the Japan, the US and the Middle East, according to Automotive News.

Koen Maes, Vice President Customer and Retail Experience of Nissan Europe, came up with the idea. "The whole idea of taking a shopper – male or female – back into a back room to finalize the deal is threatening. We want to get away from that," he said to Automotive News.

The concept is certainly novel and echoes the customer-centric sales strategy used to sell many luxury goods. Salespeople might not welcome the inability to sit down while working, though. We've contacted Nissan for more details about the dealer's design and concept and will update this story if and when we hear back.


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  • 44 Comments
      mapoftazifosho
      • 8 Months Ago
      How's about no sales people?
        Fazzster
        • 8 Months Ago
        @mapoftazifosho
        We really don't need sales people any more. Most lack the basic knowledge of the product they are selling anyway. This is where Amazon needs to step in and allow for a point and click purchase with delivery to your door step.
      dejatun
      • 8 Months Ago
      I sold cars for 42 years, Datsun 3 Nissan 2 of that total. Lets's start with the weather. People don't walk around wasting conversation outside at 20 Below Zero, or in the rain, or in high wind, or in humid 80's and above, or 110 degrees raw sun light. OK, we've got that down. So, now we head back into the show room, sheltered from the elements. Now we are going to "Force" our customers to stand while we ogle cars and discuss how much they will pay for one...? What about high heels, vericose veins, bad knees and hips? It just goes on and on. This is very short sighted and must be inspired by someone who has never dealt with the public in a retail environment. Yes, everyone is on their feet buying tooth paste at Wal Mart but, that experience doesn't take 2 hours. This is a STUPID idea and will quickly become evident when tired heels yearning to sit, talk and negotiate go clicking out the door. Oh, don't think some suave, smooth talking manager will halt the exodus.
        RLC
        • 8 Months Ago
        @dejatun
        Spoken like a clueless long-term car salesman. Customers HATE the current system, in case you haven't noticed. Just because you got comfortable and lazy with cubicles and office chairs doesn't mean this new Nissan method is stupid.
          b.rn
          • 8 Months Ago
          @RLC
          Customers do hate the current system, but it's not because there are desks and a receptionist. Dejatun is dead on. This is going to hurt, not help.
        Dmitriy Markelov
        • 8 Months Ago
        @dejatun
        Sales are up, argument null and void.
      johnnythemoney
      • 8 Months Ago
      It must be said, in Europe the concept of buying cars out of inventory isn't the same we have over here. European customers go to dealers to configure their car (they could configure it online and have the setup sent to the local dealer of course), sign the papers and wait the couple of months. Cars bought from inventory are often offered at a discount which is often set by the automaker itself, so most likely leveraging on some Gonvernment's incentives, outgoing models and the likes. Other than that, the price is not so easy to be lowered. Inventory cars have some margins but the second hand market is competitive enough to limit the discount on new cars. The concept of fleet cars is different too, so instead you have companies buying cars for 6-12 months and selling them right after that with about 20.000 miles or so at worst, with a discount raging in the mid/high 20%. Then there are cars called "km 0" (0 miles), that's to say cars already registered by the automaker or the dealer, and offered with a similar discount, harder to find though. These factors limit the discount on new cars, so there isn't much to talk about price-wise. A 10% discount is the best you can find, some working categories may aim for 15% in specific cases. So what you do is go to the dealer to check the car in person, discuss the options as online configurators aren't always the easiest things to figure apparently, sign and start paying. Also inventory cars are often small cars, B or C segment.
      Eta Carinae
      • 8 Months Ago
      I think alot of people are diving to deep into this article......yes, it says desks and offices will be gone but I am pretty sure there will be sitting arrangements.....the idea is to not sitting across from somebody and have them lecture you about what you can or cannot afford.....I sure there will be a cafe to offer coffee and goodies at which they can sit and discuss about the car and pricing.....trying to put the customer in a different environment within the same environment. ....its a smart idea to me....
        CadiVetteFerrari
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Eta Carinae
        You're sure? And what if you're wrong? Then what? Nowhere does it mention anything about a cafe sit and chat business. "The concept is relatively simple. Showrooms ditch offices, reception counters, cubicles and desks. Instead salespeople walk around inside and outside the dealer with mobile devices to assist customers and even complete sales." Now, IF they were to revise the idea a bit and design a seating area for conducting business and such and have a cafe type of atmosphere, with comfortable seating, that's a different story.
      Master Austin
      • 8 Months Ago
      Like being at an Apple store. Problem I see is purchasing a car takes roughly an hour or 2 in paperwork. And some people take their spouses and kids, and grand parents, and house keeper, and I would love to see how all those are going to feel going through that process together.
      Richard
      • 8 Months Ago
      You could put chairs on the ceiling it won't matter. As long as most people walk in saying "I can afford 'x' dollars a month" they will continue to get screwed. I remember when I bought my last vehicle. I was not interested in leasing but I had them run the numbers anyway. When I caught the finance guy using MSRP instead of the purchase I had negotiated (which was $5000 lower) as the cost basis for the car he was stunned. Most E! television viewing Americans would have said "OOH Lower Payment!" and put $5000 right back in the dealers pockets. Hateon dealers all you want. They are the way they are because most people can't be bothered to learn financial math.
      jebibudala
      • 8 Months Ago
      Generation Entitlement is changing the way our society (or lack thereof) functions. Finally one good thing to come from their generation. Unfortunately there's a lot of lazy unintelligent people that need someone to "coach" or rather take full advantage of them - but they typically shop at that used car lot down the road anyway.
      Tom
      • 8 Months Ago
      This is a Stupid Idea/ Concept- Koen Maes. This is so uncomfortable for the workers. Everyone who works at a dealership works an average of 10hs to 12 hrs. How about better work hours, better training, and better pay....to motivate someone.
      kontroll
      • 8 Months Ago
      that's just like testing their experimental customers with no air bags...
      Fat Kid
      • 8 Months Ago
      I would assume they're "reporting better customer satisfaction" because they employ the same high harassment level as local service departments in the states. "If you don't give us an EXCELLENT in EVERY SINGLE CATEGORY it counts as a FAIL and I could lose my job and I have kids and a wife and a mortgage..." (Repeat at drop off, payment and pickup) OK! I'll give you an "excellent review" just shut up and give me my keys! (Vent Complete)
        mhw
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Fat Kid
        Blame the survey system,. The only real acceptable mark on our Toyota survey is "TRULY EXCEPTIONAL". Who the hell would mark that without a prompt? I sure wouldn't. That survey controls between $1000 and $3000 of my monthly income, by the way.
          Gorgenapper
          • 8 Months Ago
          @mhw
          You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours. Unfortunately it usually ends up as you stab my back, I'll hang you out to dry. The next car I buy, I'll be setting my BS meter on exterminate.
          RLC
          • 8 Months Ago
          @mhw
          For most people buying a car, the main priority is on getting a good deal on a very expensive investment, not making sure the salesman makes an extra $3000.
        reattadudes
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Fat Kid
        it seems you don't understand the seriousness of CSI scores, and how many incentives manufacturers have added to them. they are completely out of control. an example: I used to live in Hawaii, and still have a lot of friends who live there, cars are stupid expensive in Hawaii; think MSRP plus another $5,000-$10,000 on top of that. ALL dealers do it. I had a friend of a friend call me about a Dodge pickup, and bought one from a dealer here in the Phoenix area that I know. we explained that we could not fill the vehicle here with gasoline, as the shipping company (Matson) required less than two gallons in the tank. the truck was also required by Chrysler to be clean at the time of delivery. since we could not do either of these things, we sent the guy a check for $250 to cover both. imagine my friend at the Chrysler dealer's surprise when he received a notice that they received a negative CSI report from the idiot in Hawaii. when they asked, "was your vehicle full of fuel and washed at the time of delivery", he checked, "NO", even though he had received a $250 check to cover them. that one CSI report cost my friend TWENTY FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS in bonus money every month for over two years.
      NY EVO X MR GUY
      • 8 Months Ago
      Sounds anti-productive. So where will the customer sit when they need to read and sign a buy order or finance contract? On the sales persons back? You can tell this wasn't thought out very well at all.
      Daniel Spalinger
      • 8 Months Ago
      now if we could only get rid of the "dealers" themselves....
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