Hyundai rolls out new dealership image program

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Hyundai Auto Canada Corp.’s dealer body is about to start adopting a striking new look.

Dubbed the Global Dealership Image Space Identity (GDSI), the image program is being introduced to all Hyundai dealerships around the world and is part of a new vision of retail for the company.

The most obvious change is the exterior colour scheme. Gone are the dominant blue and white hues. In their place will be a bronze-coloured roof structure aimed at providing the brand a signature look and feel.

Hyundai executives did confirm blue would remain as an accent colour throughout the interior of the dealership.

In addition to the exterior changes, the interiors will see updates in the form of new premium furniture, customer lounges, digital kiosks, tablets and wheel stands.

In an interview with Canadian AutoWorld prior to the announcement, Hyundai Canada chief Don Romano said it was time to move away from the primary colours of red and blue and have Hyundai stand out and stand alone.

“This is one part of a total change for us,” he said, noting that the image program will usher in an overhauled sales and service process focused on the customer.

He said when dealers were shown the concept at the national dealer meeting in Las Vegas in June, roughly 80 per cent of network was excited about the change and “thought it was great.”

As for the other 20 per cent, he said they would require some additional convincing.

“No dealer wants to throw a lot of money into an image program right away, especially since the old one hadn’t been out all that long,” he said. “But when the 80 per cent saw it as an overall vision of where we’re headed as a brand, they were right on board. In fact, we’ve had a hard time keeping them at bay as we finalize the details and put a rollout plan together.”

“For the most part, the 20 per cent that were a little overwhelmed were the dealers that started with us when we had Ponys and Excels. To them, it’s harder to see the brand with the Genesis and Equus…”

Romano noted it was too early to discuss average costs for dealers as the company was still working with design firm R. H. Carter on how to “Canadianize the look” and feel of the concept.
 
The plan does not appear to call for too much by way of structural renovations barring a new, premium vehicle showroom-within-a-showroom concept that would be used to support the company’s higher-end vehicles, such as the Genesis sedan and Equus flagship sedan.

Hyundai Auto Canada currently has 211 dealerships across the country selling a full range of vehicles from subcompact cars to full-size premium sedans, coupes, as well as compact and mid-size SUVs.

Hyundai manager of public relations Chad Heard said two to three stores have started instituting the new CI. All of them are current ground-up builds.

One of those initial stores to get the ball rolling will be Campbell River Hyundai in Campbell River, B.C. Owners Gary Thulin, Darnell Thulin and Scott Kilby, who serve as dealer principal, just recently broke ground on the new project.

Be sure to check out the September edition of Canadian AutoWorld for a complete look at the new image program and a total rundown of all the other programs and plans Hyundai has for 2014 and beyond.