“Earl Grey, Hot.”
Were Captain Picard to have the opportunity to visit a Lincoln store in Beijing, Shanghai or Hangzhou—all of which opened last week—he would have the ability to partake of a beverage in the store’s tea room. Presumably while musing over the vehicle of his choice.
Or perhaps he would simply spend his time in the “Personalization Studio,” where there is a 46-inch LCD touch screen that can be controlled to display a configured vehicle, inside and out.
It may not be the Holodeck, but it is certainly a far cry from what many people are familiar with when it comes to their “dealership experience.”
In China they’re operating under the label, the “Lincoln Way.”
Apparently, Lincoln discovered during three years of research into the Chinese luxury market that the Chinese buyer is no longer interested in luxury as “an overt statement of their personal net worth,” but as “a way to express their unique individuality.”
Individuality seems a bit odd in what is still a collectivist state.
Anyway, the Lincoln customer (it is not clear whether are tire-kickers in China, people who might roll into the dealership just to kill time, which in this case might include having a delicious hot drink) will have the opportunity to interface with the “Lincoln Team.”
This consists of the Host, who is the primary person working with the customer. If the Host needs to get some additional help (is this a variant of “I’ll have to run this by my manager”?), then the Master gets involved. The Master is said to be “the customer’s trusted resource during the sales process.” Then there is the Craftsman, who handles repair, which is quite a controversial thing in China, such that not only does the Lincoln Way have it that there are cameras in the service bays that the customer can access while sipping tea in the Star Lounge (a bit Big Brother), but once the repair is done, the Craftsman can return the used parts, “packaged in a Lincoln box and tagged with a label, extraction date and the name of a service technician.” Presumably, this is to provide assurance to the customer that what was said to have been done was, indeed, done.
Lincoln plans to open five more stores before the end of the year, and have 60 stores in 50 cities by 2016.
According to a recent report by automotive data company Inovev, in June 2014 there were 23,348 dealerships in China, up from 21,756 in July 2013.
Here’s hoping the tea is good.
The Buick LaCrosse has been Buick’s top-line car since it was introduced in 2004 as a 2005 model sedan.
The previous-generation Hyundai Elantra (2010 to 2015) had the edgy Fluidic Sculpture design forming its sheet metal; it’s bigger brethren, the Sonata, was more visible in this regard, though the smaller size of the Elantra gave the skin a greater tautness than was the case on the Sonata.
If heritage means anything in this industry, then it is surprising that Buick doesn’t make more of its history because the story of the early years of the company is nothing short of astonishing.