The young couple looks a bit irritated: For a wedding in a car dealership? It can only be a joke, how to make it a bachelor party. But Judy Jones is not joking. She is the boss of Lexus in Escondido and hosts more weddings in her car dealership halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego than some jet set restaurateurs in one of the many beach bars that line the Pacific Coast Highway. For good reason: Because Lexus of Escondido is not just any new car discounter, but probably the most luxurious car dealership in the world.
Three floors high and as big as a shopping center, it not only offers a huge showroom for the 900 new and used cars that Jones constantly has in stock, a posh workshop and a kind of academy in which curious customers can digitally and virtually upgrade their cars can disassemble to the last screw. But there is also a hairdressing and a beauty salon, a playroom with professional care for the children, an art studio, a library with massage chairs, a boutique for clothes and home decoration, conference rooms, an event service, a golf simulator, and the gourmet restaurant with the large roof terrace, on which concerts or weddings can be arranged. Lexus of Escondido even offers painting and golf courses to shorten the waiting time for customers and to make a visit to the dealership an experience.
The company boss calls this concept "autotainment", in which she has already put $ 30 million. She had to fight for it for a long time in the family and, above all, let her dealer colleagues in California smile at her. But the competition has gotten stuck in the throat, says the sprightly lady with the striking cat glasses, not without pride. "Because the calculation worked, the sales figures increase and people suddenly like to come back to the dealership," Jones observed and has been touring the whole country for a long time to explain their concept to colleagues for high fees. In addition, she is constantly pondering how she can make her autotainment even more colorful and versatile: cooking classes, a studio with tailors, a music school? "Once you start, you just can't stop," says the boss.
Jones is already in his sixties and learned the car trade in the family from scratch. But the boss is open enough for changes and made an important discovery early on: “Luxury is defined differently today than it used to be. The experience is no longer the thickness of the carpets or the sheen of the marble tiles. It's all about time, ”the PS patriarch says philosophically. “Time is the scarcest asset of our customers. That's why we want them to feel that the time they spend with us is a good investment and not a waste. ”For this reason, customers in the Auto Park Way are treated the way Jones cares for their guests at home:“ We give them food, we spoil and entertain them. "
Apparently that is popular. Of course, sometimes she still has to send the pick-up and delivery service because a few customers are in a particular hurry. But the days when the vehicle owners sent the gardener or the caretaker to service with the car were long gone: "More and more customers come and stay longer than we actually need for their car," says Jones.
And that is exactly the idea behind their concept: because the longer customers stay in their glass palace open seven days a week until late at night, the more they and their subcontractors can earn from them. And the greater the chance that they will have a new one Lexus drive from the yard. After all, it happens again and again that people actually only come to eat, quickly look at a new car on the way up and sign the sales contract immediately after dessert, says the owner. No wonder that she is happy about the 14.000 meals that go over the counter at Vintana each year. Even if the bill for the truffle spaghetti or the New York Strip steak is naturally paid when you sign a contract.
The gourmet restaurant is now so well attended that Jones has long since set up a valet service that supplies the cars of all brands and even provides the models from Lexus again washed. "Free, of course," says Jones. Every week she organizes congresses, company celebrations or weddings on the panoramic terrace. The golf coach is fully booked, there is no free appointment in the beauty salon and the wedding planner is working almost around the clock - the concept of the PS patriarch apparently works: "We have hundreds of people in the house all day long" says the boss, whose 300 employees work seven days a week from morning to night in the workshop, sit at the desk or just stand in the hairdressing salon.
While many dealers in Germany complain about the silence in the showroom and experts like Stefan Bratzel from the Center of Automotive Research in Bergisch Gladbach observe a paradigm shift among customers, Judy Jones is happy about the hustle and bustle on the three floors. There is more going on in the Auto Park Way, even in the late evening, when colorful fountains, like those in front of the Bellagio in Las Vegas, shoot into the clear sky from the huge fountain like in front of the Bellagio in Las Vegas. But who goes to the hairdresser at Auto Meier, reserves a table for a brunch at Auto Schmidt and has his wedding planned at Auto Müller?
Author: Benjamin Bessinger / SP-X