London may have been the Olympic city this past summer, but it was also “Audi City.” The German luxury car brand launched its first digital showroom in London, just in time for the Olympics, pitching it in a movie-style trailer. The innovative concept was designed to digitally present Audi’s entire line of cars in a compact space, using such “groundbreaking media technology,” says Audi, as the ability for visitors to “digitally select their vehicle from several hundred million possible configurations and experience it in realistic 1:1 scale on screens that almost fill the entire space.” More Audi Cities are coming soon.Image

Audi didn’t start the trend of marketing cars in big city downtown areas, however. In May, BMW opened its first “BMW Brand Store” in metropolitan Paris and a BMW 7 Series Lounge in Moscow. Unlike the Audi concept, real cars appear in the two retail outlets. This week, Mercedes Benz inaugurated in Milan a ”Visionary Store” ,first of its kind, offering prospective buyers, enthusiasts, and admirers to experience what the new A-Class is all about. Located near the cathedral, the new Visionary Store’s opening was attended by Mercedes-Benz Cars Head of Sales and Marketing, Dr. Joachim Schmidt, together with Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team driver Nico Rosberg. Schmidt said that the aim was for customers to experience the vehicle in a whole new light, both in the real and virtual senses. That’s because the store is equipped with Wi-Fi, Kinect, tablet PCs, and augmented reality, among others. This concept store is just part of the marketing for the new A-Class, which is involved in a Roadshow that takes it through a whopping 90 cities in Europe. The iconic luxury brand, Rolls-Royce (owned by BMW) its opening its first ever boutique at Central Rama 3 Mall in Bangkok, Thailand. Rolls-Royce already has a Bangkok showroom, but the boutique, the first of its kind to be located in an upscale shopping mall, will feature additional products. The brand experience will allow the luxury automaker “to reach a broader audience who will be able to view first-hand why the elegance, quality and craftsmanship of our cars earn them the title of the ‘best cars in the world,” explains Torsten Muller-Otvos, Rolls-Royce CEO. Upscale Thai consumers embrace luxury brands, and Thailand is an even more attractive Asian market now that economic growth in China is slowing. Rolls-Royce operates 27 showrooms in the Asia-Pacific region, including China. In fact, Rolls-Royce Bangkok’s seven-car showroom was the first in the Asia Pacific region to have two storeys and secure underground parking for customers. It also incorporates a special delivery room for customers. ”We again demonstrate our commitment to the Rolls-Royce brand in Thailand by ensuring customers have accessibility, choice and the latest product offerings,” commented Chatvithai Tantraporn, GM for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Bangkok. Part of its first steps in developing an interactive communications platform, Rolls Toyce introduced last month a digital tool, the “Provenance Pre-owned Stock Locator,” which allows consumers to search for exclusive Provenance cars quickly and easily using an iPad, smartphone, or computer. Rolls-Royce chose to make the tool available via its website and through local dealers rather than as a standalone app. In addition to searching for cars within specific countries, users can sign up for alerts and be notified via email and SMS when search criteria have been met. “With the Provenance program, complemented by our new pre-owned stock locator, we can offer examples of the finest pre-owned Rolls-Royce motor cars and present them effortlessly to potential clients,” Muller-Otvos said. Adapted from