Although often overlooked during dealership designing, good lighting is vital.
“A crisp, bright and well-lit area can add to the appearance and perception of the vehicle,” says Chuck Campagna, CEO and president of Amerlux Lighting Solutions.
Technical advances have expanded the creativity of lighting designers. In the past, fluorescent lights, HID and Hi-Bay technology either used a lot of electricity or created a harsh environment.
Today's bulbs (low-wattage ceramic and metal halide for example), are more efficient and flexible. While today's designs cost more up front, they are cheaper over time. Bulbs today provide at least 10,000 hours of usage, five times longer than their predecessors.
“You used to pay $20 for a fixture and $4 for a bulb,” says Campagna. “Today, you'll spend anywhere from $150 to $200 for a light, but you'll need fewer of them and you'll replace them less often.”
Lighting systems today create a pleasant shopping experience for customers.
Digital merchandising and multimedia marketing in a dealership rely on lighting design, says Ken Nisch, CEO of JGA Inc., a design firm. “We're starting to see the two become more integrated.”
Luxury brands first incorporated good lighting into their facility upgrades. Campagna thinks all brands should.
“Buying a car still is a high-impact emotional decision,” he says. “Dealers can use lighting to help customers to decompress when they walk into the showroom. We call it the ‘ahh’ effect.”