While North America and Europe likewise are affected by dealer bankruptcies and network downsizing, Turkey strives for new growth superlatives. Istanbul is building a new mega dealership whose concept completely contradicts the general trends in automotive retail networks. With more than 200 shops on 117.000 sqm (and even an 800-metre test track on the roof of the building!), "Autopia Europia" (opening in 2011) will probably become the largest Auto Mall in the world.
Autopia was designed to combine all vehicle services under one roof and provide a new shopping experience for the increasing number of car buyers in Turkey. From auto repair facilities to cafés and restaurants, from spare parts to classic cars exhibitions, Autopia seems to have it all.
Manufacturers, however, are skeptical. Polk recently worked together with one of the biggest OEM importers who intentionally does not actively consider Autopia in his medium-term retail network planning strategy.
Nothing carries the brand image better than the dealership; and dealers, to a great extent, are responsible for generating loyal customers. Polk studies showed brand exclusive dealers being far more effective in sales than shared dealerships. Concepts like Autopia will, more than any other Auto Mall or multi-franchise dealership, soften customers' brand loyalty.
Furthermore Autopia's focus has been on independent auto repair facilities and used car dealerships that have been banned from inner-city areas by a new law. The site is less attractive for new car sales.
What do you think?
Posted by Tanja Linken, Team Lead Network Management, Europe, Polk (10.28.10)