BMW Etobicoke: A Boutique Hotel Experience

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BMW Etobicoke was designed to offer customers the kind of upscale experience they might expect from a luxury hotel. Credit: BMW Etobicoke

This new dealership was designed to feel like a high-end hotel, and not like a traditional dealership.

The Policaro Group recently announced the opening of their second BMW dealership in the Greater Toronto Area: BMW Etobicoke. The new 65,000 sq. ft. facility sits on over 5.5 acres, along one of the busiest highways in the Toronto area.

Designed to BMW’s latest global corporate image standards, the new facility was built with re-purposed, renewable and recycled materials and boasts the latest in sustainable design. It includes unconventional features, like bike storage and a green space, and offers customers a full complement of BMW products and services, including BMW M, BMW i and BMW Motorsport products.

“The city requires new buildings like this to include a green space,” explains Fortune Policaro, General Manager of BMW Etobicoke, “but we decided to go above and beyond their requirements and turn the entire roof into a green space, rather than just a portion of it.”

The idea to incorporate bike storage into the new building, Policaro explains, was not required by the city nor by BMW. It was a feature the Policaro Group wanted to include as a benefit for their employees.

“One of our employees lives about 500 metres away from the new store,” Policaro adds, “and she often bikes to work. So we think it’s a feature that makes sense for us, and for some of our staff as well.”

An upscale experience

Far from a traditional dealership, BMW Etobicoke was designed to offer customers the kind of upscale experience they might expect from a luxury hotel. Speaking at the grand opening of the new store, Andrew Scott, President and CEO of BMW Group Canada explained what sets this new store apart from conventional dealerships.

“At this exceptional new facility, customers won’t simply come in to purchase a new vehicle,” Scott said. “They will be immersed in a premium, customized journey towards BMW ownership. BMW Retail.Next creates an environment BMW customers are familiar with from their experiences with boutique hotels, bespoke couture and premium furnishings. We want all of our customers to feel comfortable when they engage with our brand, and we believe the Retail.Next design—and the digital processes and tools that go along with it—will envelop them in a sense of welcome that few other retail experiences can offer.”

Unlike traditional dealerships that feature a showroom packed with vehicles, and an array of desks for the sales staff, BMW Etobicoke has taken a different approach to the sales process. They also eliminated the need for a customer to be handed-off from one person to another when buying a car.

“In a typical dealership, the customer has to deal with the receptionist, the sales person, a used car manager (if they have a trade-in), the finance manager, and the delivery person,” Policaro explains. “With our approach, we’ve eliminated all that. We understand that consumers want to deal with one person. They want one point of contact, and that’s what we offer.”

The new showroom is also much smaller, with less vehicles on display. “We have the main models on display, and each area has a work station consultation area that has the feel of a boutique hotel lounge where the environment is more relaxed,” Policaro explains. “You’re sitting side-by-side with a brand ambassador, rather than across a desk from a sales person, and you’re building your vehicle together.”

That same brand ambassador, Policaro adds, takes care of all F&I needs. “So you’re not meeting with multiple people for that single transaction,” he adds. “The brand ambassador has the autonomy to take care of the customer, from start to finish.”

On stage, off stage

Policaro compares the dealership experience to a theatre, or a visit to Disneyland, where some things take place on stage for customers to see, while other events are hidden from their view, off stage.

The sales process, vehicle deliveries, as well as the service drive, are the on stage areas of the store. The goal, Policaro explains, is to create an experience for the customer, and to move away from the typical transactional feel of the sales and service process.

“Off stage is where we do the licensing, the trade-ins, the paperwork and other necessary things,” Policaro adds. “I like to think of it from the perspective of Disneyland, where the on stage experience for customers is separate from what takes place off stage. Someone walked into our store recently and said that it doesn’t feel like a dealership. And that’s exactly the point with this new concept.”

Categories : Dealerships, Editorial
Tags : BMW Etobicoke


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