5 secrets of lighting a luxury car brand
This week sees motorsport take centre stage, with the British Grand Prix at Silverstone and the Goodwood Festival of Speed taking place. The vehicles’ appeal is further boosted by the atmosphere, the thrill and the passion of the events.
But how do you translate this experience into a brand’s dealership?
The role of the showroom
In the age of digital retail, car and bike dealerships have bucked the trend – with the majority of consumers still coveting an in-person purchase. And purchases don't come much bigger than luxury vehicles, so it’s important to get the staging right in order to set the mood and get potential buyers excited.
What’s more, a well-planned lighting design will balance a compelling setting with the flexibility to accommodate all the comings and goings of the vehicles.
1. Put detail in the spotlight
If you’ve ever bought a new car, you’ll remember the first time you saw it shining under the showroom lights. Lighting therefore becomes the natural partner to your vehicle stock and polished surfaces, drawing attention to elegant curves, sharp angles and overall aesthetic.
Bespoke accent lighting will also create a sense of exclusivity and prestige by showcasing each vehicle’s key features and accentuating the full spectrum of exterior colours available. We recently designed a new lighting scheme for BMW Hereford, with a focus on evenly distributing light across the showroom, while ensuring each car was still in the spotlight. A high CRI value was used in the recessed ceiling spotlights, which means the broad array of special paint finishes available will look constantly fantastic, with no dull reds or iffy yellows.
2. Create an inviting atmosphere
As well as carefully curating the presentation of vehicles, it’s worth considering the atmosphere in other areas of the environment too.
In short, make it inviting. Ambient lighting has the power to make potential buyers feel at ease and therefore happier to make a purchase. Use an even distribution to avoid contrasting shadows and create the sensation of natural sunlight by illuminating large areas of the walls or ceilings. This can boost buyers’ moods and help them imagine being out on the open road.
3. Highlight the lifestyle, not just the vehicle
It's important to reflect the lifestyle that a brand promotes in order to replicate this attachment. Do you sell rugged off-roaders, sporty bikes or elegant saloons? Tailor the lighting accordingly to foster that emotional connection with your customers.
We used this aspirational quality to support Triumph’s brand DNA of always moving forward in the launch of their new Speed Twin bike. We designed and manufactured a bespoke triangular metal structure, teamed with an LED strip, and used our software to program a formulated yet chaotic combination of light. This both engaged and stimulated the senses and emphasised this sense of fast-paced movement.
4. Go the extra mile for a product launch
Speaking of launches, it’s important to create something really unique for new models and limited-edition releases. A well-lit display will not only draw people in but it can also help you elevate your luxury brand identifiers – for example, the sleek, futuristic vibe seen in the launch of the 2018 McLaren Formula 1 car. We manufactured the set with lighting for the initial creative concept by WING, developed and designed by Michael Grubb Studio.
5. Look beyond the vehicles
Lighting not only highlights the products on show, but should also be used strategically throughout the entire showroom. For example, orientation lights can create a flow of movement – drawing clients deeper into discovering new areas of the showroom.
What’s more, office rooms, where the negotiation process usually takes place, should be professional and clearly lit. In our BMW Hereford project, we used square panel lights for the office areas, in warmer white with reduced glare in order to make clients feel more relaxed.
And finally, as we discussed in our recent blog about entrance area lighting, don’t forget to consider how your dealership looks from the outside in terms of being well-lit. Done right, and the customer’s experience with your brand will start before they step through the door.
To summarise, then, buying a luxury car is a sensory experience – from the gleam of the paint to the unmistakeable allure of that new-car smell. A bespoke lighting system therefore plays a major role in helping your customer make their decision or even increase their spend level – guiding them through the dealership, showcasing the artistry of each vehicle and immersing them within the brand.
Thank you to McLaren for providing the Formula 1 car images.
July 12, 2023