Motor Image is in the process of reinventing the dealership experience for Subaru fans and owners, and it will come to a Subaru dealership near you soon. The program has already started in Singapore, and here are the things you should expect at your local Subaru dealership.
Customers will first pass through a reception desk. From there, customers have a choice of a self-guided tour or a sales-assisted experience. From there, customers may first walk to the large touch screen to see all the facilities inside the dealership, which are displayed in a map that can be tapped to see the directions getting there or the information about the facility.
Virtual Experience Desk
The Virtual Experience Desk is a wooden desk that’s filled with tablets. Using augmented reality technology, customers only need to bring the tablet near the Subaru icon in order to see the special features of the Subaru that they want to know more about. Rather than trying to understand technical terms on how Symmetrical AWD works or how EyeSight is designed to avoid an accident in the first place, the Virtual Experience Desk demonstrates these features in order for customers to better appreciate the advantages of these features. Not only that, customers can also customize their chosen Subaru, such as the color, wheels, and available accessories.
Special Showcase Area
The special showcase area shows the car in its intended setting. On display was a Subaru Forester at a camping setting, complete with a set of Subaru-branded camping gear. Subaru is aware of the increasing popularity of camping and hiking activities among its customers, so the special showcase area displays this popular form of recreation that perfectly suits the Subaru Forester. I’m particularly curious what the setting would be if it were a WRX or WRX STI.
Virtual Reality Room
This is the highlight of all Subaru dealerships going forward. An estimated 72 square meters of space will be dedicated to a virtual reality room. It’s a fully interactive experience wherein customers can experience the Subaru of their choice, albeit virtually. Using the VR goggles, customers can virtually sit inside, open the sunroof, or operate various functions of the vehicle through virtual reality. Customers can also choose the color, wheels, and other aspects of the Subaru that they dream of. Trust me on this, but when I tried the technology myself and was virtually walking around a Forester, my phone started ringing and pulled it out of my pocket, only to realize that my eyes are in the virtual world and I couldn’t see my phone. It’s that immersive.
Some may ask why go through lengths of creating a virtual reality room when customers can just take the Subaru out for a test drive? Well, if you want to know more about Subaru’s core technologies such as EyeSight, would you deliberately try to crash a Subaru on the open road just to get a feel of the technology? Exactly.
The following facilities that I will show you may or may not arrive at a showroom near you. Of course, Subie fans will always be car enthusiasts, and the Subaru Tecnica International with its Cherry Blossom Red insignia will always be at the heart of all of us car enthusiasts. Immerse in the motorsports heritage that is STI through the merchandise being sold at the STI corner.
As a bonus, we were able to see the Subaru WRX STI S206, S207, and S208, which are iconic and highly desirable names that are only sold in the Japanese market.
There’s also a heritage corner that shows Subaru’s rich history. Here at their Singapore dealership, two of Subaru’s historic sporty coupes are on display, the XT and SVX.
The XT was highly regarded for its wedge shape that was considered advanced back in 1985 when this car was first released. The modern shape was possible due to a boxer engine’s naturally low positioning. The door handles were of particular interest, as they were “aircraft type” door handles that were totally flush into the body. To open the door, the hinged panel must be pushed in order for a person’s hands to pull the handle itself. As a result, the XT has a drag coefficient of 0.29, which was unheard of during its time. Other interesting quirks include the single-blade wipers that tucked under the hood when not in use, as well as the aircraft-inspired interior.
The SVX is the successor to the quirky XT. It was Subaru’s first attempt at making a grand tourer. Whereas the XT was angular, the SVT had curvy lines and shapes designed by Giugiaro, including the now iconic two-piece side windows. It’s a design trait normally seen on exotic cars with scissor or gullwing doors back then, such as the Lamborghini Countach and McLaren F1. The SVX’s aerodynamic shape allowed it to have the same 0.29 drag coefficient of the XT.
Elsewhere, more Subaru merchandise, as well as an accessories corner are present, which are already in many Subaru dealerships nationwide.
Do you like what you see? Expect this to be rolled-out soon. Subaru C5 has already adopted this new retail concept. Plans are already underway to equip the rest of the Subaru showrooms nationwide with all of these new technologies. Meanwhile, the virtual reality room will be launched first across Singapore, and then the Philippines will follow shortly thereafter.