BMW to Launch Genius Program at Showrooms

From NY Daily News

By Clark Bowling

Going to the dealership can be a daunting experience. With the help of the right salesman, one question about a car can lead smoothly into a down payment and a new set of wheels. Not for the feint of heart, by any means.

BMW hopes to change this, seeking to add an army of technologically-literate Apple Store-style “geniuses” to its dealerships, reports AdAge, helping customers without fear of a high-stakes sales push.

The “BMW Genius Everywhere” program began as a pilot program in the U.K. last year, as dealerships added the employees. Dressed in a white polo shirt labeled “BMW Genius,” the role is paid by salary rather than the sales staff’s commission-based pay scale.

The program is set to roll out through the rest of Europe in the first half of 2013, expanding to the United States at the tail-end of the year. BMW hopes that its Geniuses will be on-hand to help launch of its i3 electric car at the start of 2014.

In the U.S., the Genius role is expected to be filled by college students able to work the busy evening and weekends at dealerships. The role may not require new hires, according to Peter Miles, BMW of North America’s vice president of operations, allowing for the possibility of employees to be retrained for the role.

Miles added that all dealerships will be required to have a Genius.

BMW is not the first luxury automaker to a launch a car-savvy service. Recently, Lexus added delivery and technology specialists while General Motors implemented Cadillac User Experience specialists at Cadillac dealerships last year.

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