Citroen just announced today the opening of its new urban dealership concept in Paris, and this is the opportunity to revisit the story of the showroom and some futuristic visions, compared to the newest showroom.
Urban Dealership Concept
Citroën is setting up its urban dealership concept, “La Maison Citroën”, an architectural expression of the concept presented on Citroën’s stands at the latest motor shows. In an intimate 150 m2 space that breaks with the cues of conventional automotive retail, visitors enjoy an experience blending the physical and the digital, emphatically situating the new dealership concept in the “phygital” era.
More than anyone in his time, André Citroën knew how to break with existing conventions in automotive retail. The venue that Citroën is readying to open on 39 rue Saint Didier in Paris is a product of that legacy. Right from the shop window, a giant screen stirs the curiosity and draws the attention of passers-by, encouraging them to enter. Inside, the warm design scheme features natural wood and walls inscribed with colourful words. Cars may feature in the centre of the space, but the decor is not that of a traditional sales outlet. The experience here is distinctive, with numerous screens, personalisation accessories and window displays of lifestyle products.
The Brand is preparing for the initial opening of this new venue, expressing all of its “Be different, feel good” claim. Each visitor will be able to enjoy a unique experience, at once intimate and technological, in a very real “phygital” urban retail concept aimed at enhancing the Citroën customer experience.
With its glass façade, enabling people to project themselves visually into the interior, La Maison Citroën has an original look, the appeal of which is underscored by the giant vertical screen in the window display. The Citroën spirit is expressed in the images displayed on the screen, creating an optimistic and people-centric feel.
The Citroën Wall is a touch table for configuring the entire range that stands out through the quality of its 3D images, bringing visitors an immersive experience with outstanding visuals. Customers can start configuring their cars on line and access their work in progress when visiting La Maison Citroën, benefiting from the advice of the sales team composed of Brand Ambassadors. These automotive retail specialists are also experts in the use of digital tools.
Citroën Origins, Citroën’s virtual museum is also present at La Maison Citroën, accessible via a special touchscreen.
Configure and Sale
The layout of the venue simplifies the customer journey, particularly in the partition-free Sales Area where customers sit at a table to talk with the sales staff and finalise the details of the purchase. The configuration begun before the visit and/or continued on site is just as easily accessed here.
An extension to the showroom is the virtual museum, allowing the brand to bring back the success from the past. Citroen takes the opportunity of the new show to remind us how his virtual museum is a great place to visit before visiting the physical showroom.
From the Past to the Future
Car dealerships are typically franchised to sell and service vehicles by specific companies. They are often located on properties offering enough room to have buildings housing a showroom.
First car dealership
Carl Graham Fisher (1874-1939) operated in Indianapolis what is believed to be the first automobile dealership in the United States.
The Futurliners, a mobile showroom
The GM Futurliners were a group of custom vehicles, styled in the 1940s by Harley Earl for General Motors, and integral to the company’s Parade of Progress, a North American traveling exhibition promoting future cars and technologies.
Typically arranged at each stop around a large tent and an information kiosk, each Futurliner featured a self-contained stage as well as a prominent deployable light tower, and each vehicle featured a particular subject. The mobile exhibition covered such topics as jet engine technology, agriculture, traffic engineering, stereophonic sound, microwave ovens, television and other innovations.
Evolution of the showroom
The showroom evolved since the very first one was created.