Motor Trends

written by Steve Knaub, Director of Design | April 24, 2019 | News |

Auto dealerships are changing. Not only has the importance of consistent brand imagery and design grown but so have customers’ expectations. Additional outside forces are changing the way cars are sold too including technology and environmental impacts, which are both shaping the brands’ approach to not only how they design and build vehicles, but also their approach to the facilities in which they are sold. Features that were novel, like on-site car wash service and indoor new vehicle delivery spaces, have become standard, giving way to new frontiers for customer convenience and even luxury comfort.

It’s all about Brand Imagery
Dealerships are key to new car sales, and part of getting customers to the right brand is a recognizable (and consistent) aesthetic identity and branding. To facilitate this consistency, there is an increased focus on conforming dealerships to standards across regions. Brands publish “Design Guides” with increased detail for interior and exterior finishes, colors, lighting, building shapes, floor plan layouts, signage, and even landscape and hardscape design.

Dealership “Must Have” Amenities
Open plans with easy access between departments, plenty of daylight and views to the outdoors are popular. High-end and even luxury finishes have become more common in showrooms and throughout customer areas. Exterior façade finishes have also followed this trend. Plus, for some brands, dramatic façade lighting is critical to attracting customers after dark.

Many car dealerships that feature lounge-like waiting areas have now also added specific areas for customers to work while they wait. Café areas are becoming common, as is customer power and Wi-Fi throughout the dealership.

Because of the range of vehicle customizations now available, showroom Design Studios with vehicle finish samples are more readily available. And, customer training for new vehicles is on the rise.

For vehicle service areas, additional indoor Service Lanes allow convenience for a larger number of simultaneously arriving customers, creating more customer contact opportunities with the potential to increase shop volume. Today’s amenities aren’t just for the customers, they are for employees too as almost all new maintenance shops in our region are air-conditioned.

Focus on the Environment & Technology
While few clients contract us to construct a LEED-Certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) auto dealership, at Mowery, LEED principles are frequently applied. Efficient heating and cooling systems, daylighting and LED lights, rainwater infiltration, and rainwater harvesting for car washing are examples of environmental improvements being made to dealership designs.

Advances in technology are also improving the car’s relationship with the environment and changing dealership facilities. Brands are electrifying their model lines, from hybrids through full electric vehicles. With these changes have come charging facilities in maintenance shops as well as at customer parking and display parking. Planning for initial chargers and the eventual larger build-out at sites has posed a new challenge we’ve met.

The Mowery Way
The Mowery name represents 92 years of construction-business stability in Pennsylvania and surrounding regions. We take safety seriously for the benefit of our employees and all of our partners. We stand behind our work, and we do what we say we are going to do. We offer true design-build with in-house architecture and engineering. And we design with the end in mind, so we can build as if it’s our own.

To help you manage schedule and budget we provide early estimates, value-engineering, and other cost controls. We can also take away the uncertainty of end-of-design-bidding, with an early GMP (Guaranteed Maximum Price) arrangement. We have services to expedite your schedule, too, including fast-track construction with site and foundation construction in parallel with the remainder of building design. To avoid costly temporary moves that are also confusing to customers, we are experienced with phased construction for continuous operations on your own site. We will work with you to create a plan that is sensitive to limiting disturbance of employees and customers, with a focus on proper planning for necessary downtime.

At Mowery, we understand the state of the auto industry and how to successfully deliver your automotive project. That’s why brands like Audi, BMW, Toyota, Mercedes and more trust us with their auto dealership construction projects. Whether you use our in-house design professionals to understand the brands’ Design Guides and coordinate with brand representatives, or your own third-party architect, our know-how can help make a better construction experience and end product for you. Contact us today to learn more.