Kia equips two of its dealerships in the upscale Gangnam district of Seoul with hologram display centers that enable customers to call up a full range of models, manipulate the colors, open the hood and trunk and view the vehicles from all angles – without needing to step inside the dealership.
The theory is that the hologram display centers can show the customers every vehicle Kia offers, thereby overcoming showroom size limitations many dealers face in high-priced buildings in Seoul and other cities.
It is not uncommon in crowded Korea for all manufacturers’ dealers to display only one or two vehicles on the showroom floor.
Kia’s holograms are succeeding in luring potential customers off the street to see the real thing.
Woo Young Kwan, manager of the Teheran dealership in Gangnam, tells WardsAuto the electronic display is bringing people inside where they can ask sales representatives about the vehicles they have studied in the holograms, and view the ones that are on the floor.
Kwan’s dealership is larger than most and has five vehicles on the floor, but is an excellent test bed for the new hologram system. At present he has Kia’s K3 (Forte) compact, K5 (Optima) midsize sedan, K7 (Cadenza) fullsize sedan, Niro hybrid subcompact SUV and Sportage compact SUV models on the display floor.
Kwon says the project was launched at his dealership late last month.
“We will have to wait a bit longer to see the overall effect of it, but we expect it to make a positive impact,” Kwon says.
The automaker isn’t saying how the hologram system was developed or names other countries involved in the program.
Kwon notes while the display can be controlled by just one person, using hand motions detected by electronic sensors, he has seen as many as 10 people gathered around the hologram, watching the presentations.
“The project is at the beginning of its stage, and we expect to see more and more people engaged with the display,” Kwon says.
Besides studying all 12 models and their iterations offered by Kia, including interior and exterior views and detailed closeups, allowing activities such as changing of interior color combinations, prospective customers can view and interact with a simulated driving display or view a promotional film about Kia vehicles and how they are manufactured.
“It is good to see a new type of sales environment created for us, and I believe it will trigger customers’ interests as well,” Kwon says. “We feel the 3-D hologram system is very user-friendly and easy to use. There is no designated staff needed for assistance, but sometimes somebody on our staff does help the customers who operate it.
“The system, of course, helps us share information about the vehicles that are not shown on the floor. We believe it will become even more impactful, as we expect more detailed features to be added.”
A Kia spokesman says the new hologram display system will expand to other sales and service outlets following the trial at the Teheran dealership and a second retailer located in the Gangnam district.
The spokesman does not provide specific target numbers for the displays or a timetable, or markets outside Korea where the hologram displays may be installed.
Observers expect the 3-D displays will generate more appeal to technology-savvy younger Koreans, than traditional sales techniques.