Behind the Scenes at BMW of Manhattan

By Jonathan Spira on 1 October 2014
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Autobahn Alley, the area in Manhattan around 11th Avenue in the 50s and the home of numerous temples to which the faithful come to pay homage, is thriving. Unlike other cities, where more car dealerships were closing rather than opening, this replacement to Automobile Row, that stretch of Broadway in the West 50s that was home to such long-forgotten brands as Hornet and REO as well as many others that still exist today, is seeing a renaissance as automakers including BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi invest heavily in palaces that pay tribute to the automobile.

BMW of North America recently opened its environmentally friendly showroom at 555 West 57 Street after a top-to-bottom renovation that transformed it into a 21st-century car dealership, a program BMW refers to as “Future Retail.”

The changes aren’t just skin deep, although BMW did steer away from grays and whites to warmer colors and wood. The store reflects a dramatic shift in how cars will be sold in an age where buyers are more accustomed to genius bars than car salesmen in plaid sports jackets.

Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the state-of-the-art dealership, from sales, to service, to boutiques.

(Photos: Accura Media Group)

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