Vehicle retail has been relatively unchanged for the past decades or so, but the pandemic has introduced a host of innovations–mostly online-driven–that mainly reduced physical contact points and thus, reduced the spread of COVID-19. But as you’ll probably notice, only a tiny fraction of these innovations are still used today. Cars aren’t cheap, and most people still want to see a car in person before they plunk down millions on a depreciating asset. Therefore, the main contact point of the customer and the brand to this day remains the dealership, and it’s where customers are able to gain a first impression of what the brand is like.
However, dealerships, for the most part, aren’t located in places with high foot traffic such as malls or parks–at least in the Philippines. Dealerships in our country are located mostly on major roads and highways, since after all, maintenance and other aftersales services are conveniently accessed via major roads. Now, with Hyundai Motor Philippines (HMPH) being a year old at this point, the South Korean automaker is aiming to venture into a new era of vehicle retail in the Philippines.
Bringing Vehicle Retail Closer To People
To understand this, we first visited the Hyundai City Hyundai City Store Lotte Shopping Avenue in South Jakarta. It’s the biggest of its kind in Indonesia, and it can accommodate four cars at a time. What sets it apart from your traditional Hyundai dealer are the amenities it offers as well as being situated inside a mall. The Hyundai City Store concept serves as the perfect avenue for customers to be immersed in the brand, with digital touch screens that let you comprehensively configure your dream Hyundai, Gran Turismo style, as well as spaces to learn more about Hyundai as a brand.
In this particular Hyundai City Store in Indonesia, there is also a Hyundai x BTS merchandise section and a photo booth that lets you take a photo with your favorite Hyundai and of course, alongside your favorite K-Pop group. There is also a Hyundai Collection merchandise section if you are interested in any of the brand’s accessories, apparel, scale models, and toys for all ages. And if you’ve selected a Hyundai of your choice, then the Hyundai City Store is also a space where you can seal the deal and order your vehicle.
First Impressions Last
Next on the list is Hyundai Motorstudio Senayan Park, which is also inside a mall–Senayan Park Mall in this case, in Jakarta. This, however, is not a retail space. There are only a handful of Hyundai Motorstudios globally, four of which are in South Korea, with the biggest one being in Goyang at the outskirts of Seoul. This is the only one in Southeast Asia, and what this space offers is a vision of what Hyundai is all about, from the past, present, and future.
Various high-resolution LED boards are dotted around the exhibition area, in which a Hyundai Ioniq 6 was on display at that time. The LED boards display various motion artworks, namely Tribes, Re:Cycle, Made By Humans, We Are All Unique, Run Forever, and probably everyone’s favorite, the Hyundai x BTS For The Earth showcase.
If the concept of brand immersion sounds familiar to you, then yes, you’ve probably heard of places like Toyota’s MEGAWEB indoor car theme park in Tokyo, the Honda Collection Hall in Motegi, or the BMW Welt in Munich, Germany. This is what Hyundai Motorstudio aims to do and to further drive the point of Progress for Humanity, there is a Drive Out test drive program for the Ioniq 5 and Kona EV as well as numerous workshops focused on upcycling. These workshops utilize the discarded leather materials from Hyundai vehicles and then upcycle them into cardholders or keychains.
Lastly, there’s a coffee shop inside Hyundai Motorstudio Senayan Park which is called 1/15 Coffee. It’s one of the best third-wave/specialty coffee shops I’ve tasted during my trip, and not only is it great when it comes to the drinks, but also the views you can appreciate while taking a sip. There are also wireless charging pads on the table so that your phone gets fully charged by electronics while you get charged up by caffeine.
Coming To A Hyundai Dealer Near You
The good news is that some of these retail concepts are coming to the Philippines, too. What is confirmed to arrive is the Hyundai City Store retail concept, though HMPH has not yet announced which mall will be the first Hyundai City Store to open its doors. Also, some of the retail concepts will eventually make their way into a Hyundai dealership near you in one form or another. Whether that would be the immersive vehicle configurators, the architectural design of the interior, or the broad selection of Hyundai merchandise, these retail concepts are aiming to transform the dealership experience into more than just a place to purchase or service a brand-new vehicle.
For the longest time, the dealership model in the Philippines has remained largely unchanged. You step inside a dealer, choose and decide what vehicle you intend to purchase, and then visit the dealership once in a while for preventive maintenance. Sounds very routinary and robotic, right? What Hyundai is doing here is transforming what is essentially a place for vehicles into a place where people and the brand itself are able to form a relationship. It’s a connection that’s more than just its vehicles, but also for owners and fans to celebrate the love for mobility and the way it transforms the people and the surrounding environment.