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Volvo VRE dealership now a reality

11.08.2016

Volvo is a brand on the move, with an ever-expanding product portfolio and an all-new approach to the automotive retail sphere. I recently attended the launch of the first fully-compliant Volvo Retail Experience (VRE) dealership in South Africa, which is located in Bedfordview in Gauteng’s East Rand.

What’s the big deal?

The rebuilt dealership is not only to show-off the brand's new products but rather to provide the customer with an entirely new look and feel for Volvo dealerships in South Africa, as part of the global roll-out of VRE.

Made by Sweden

Volvo claims that the new dealership design language is inspired by Swedish culture which incorporates minimalism with a clean and simplistic aesthetic.

“The Volvo Retail Experience brings all Volvo dealerships across the globe together from a look, feel and experience point-of-view,” comments Greg Maruszewski, Managing Director of Volvo Car South Africa. “The all-encompassing nature of VRE means that our dealerships will be more than just places to buy or service a Volvo – they are becoming places people want to visit even if it’s just for a cup of delicious coffee and a chat with their Volvo dealer family while enjoying the peaceful ambience and Scandinavian design.” Maruszewski added.

Initial impressions

I have to admit that I do like what Volvo has done with the dealership. The space provides a welcoming feel, everything is open and accessible, making you as the customer feel more a home and of course more likely to browse around. The showroom has also been arranged in such way that customers will be able to view the entire product portfolio in one box-shaped dealer floor.

Fika and coffee

One of the more charming activities that the dealership offers is what the Swedish call “Fika”. Fika, so I am told, is the daily Swedish act of taking some time out with good coffee and a pastry of some sort to enjoy the company of a friend, make a new one or simply just take a break from work. As such, a fika area which features a coffee- and food station is supported by a bistro-style bar, a comfortable lounge and a children’s play zone.

Future expansion

“Our new Bedfordview dealership is currently the VRE flagship, but all our other dealerships will be undergoing extensive VRE upgrades and will feature new-look interiors geared to providing an enjoyable and noteworthy retail experience for Volvo customers across South Africa. The future of Volvo ownership revolves around what we call VPS – Volvo Personal Service, whereby our customers are treated to fast, efficient and personalised service. VRE is a key part of that future,” continues Maruszewski.

Verdict

After chatting to various Volvo representatives at the launch it would appear that the brand is attempting to place its own unique spin on a premium retail experience. In an era where personal service and personalisation is becoming more and more important, I feel that the Swedish brand is doing things right. The brand is famous for customer retention, meaning that ‘Volvo people’ will very likely buy another one in future. I envision that there will be quite a number of new ‘Volvo people’ in the near future.

Article written by Sean Nurse
11.08.2016
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