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Nissan testing experimental dealer with no desks or offices

Wed, 26 Mar 2014

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.

By Chris Bruce

See also: Nissan teases New York-bound 2015 Murano, Daimler and Nissan venture to build cars in Mexico, 2014 Nissan Rogue earns IIHS Top Safety Pick+ [w/videos].