For those of us who love to browse and buy records in the real world, the imminent passing of HMV was not only sad but also inconvenient; I really don’t want to spend any time in M&S looking at undies when there is Scritti Politti CD artwork to be admired. It was also inevitable. That’s because the majority of music buyers live online and would rather get it for free or from one of those interweb shops. Things change, which makes me wonder just how long the expensive, outdated, overstaffed local car showroom actually has left.
When I was growing up, our modest high street had a BL showroom and the same company, The Ray Powell Group, rather excitingly had a speedboat showroom too. Those outlets ceased to exist decades before the web came to be, mostly because not enough people bought Montegos, or outboard motors. Certainly car showrooms have mostly moved to large retail parks in out-of-town locations, which makes sense for parking and convenience. Also, because motor dealers like to cluster, it is possible to look at several marques at once.
Now, a car is a big ticket purchase, so we like to stroke and touch before talking part exchanges and contract hire detail. Certainly a return to the high street is not out of the question. Some manufacturers are certainly rich enough to have boutiques for us to browse in, such as Mini. I do, though, question the whole concept of the traditional showroom for the mass market when we already do so much research and comparison online. Surely all we need are regional test drive hubs or self-employed local reps to come to us?
I have all the details in a portfolio that I will sell to the highest bidder. In the meantime, would you miss your local dealer? So is a car showroom like HMV for petrolheads?