How do brands with high price tags overcome that value purchase barrier? Luxury car brands are using a different way in to justify the price point.
Brands like Porsche, BMW, and others are opening and operating extensive experiential testing sites. Gone are the days of gentle test drives around the parking lot of a dealership while a salesperson meekly points out the improved air conditioning features included in your Prius. These “Experience Centers” let consumers test drive high-end models of cars along professional tracks with an instructor in the passenger seat educating you on how “test your limits to maximum speed”. They range in cost from three hundred to eight hundred dollars for a single session. Patrons are taken through an instruction course and then allowed to test out the cars.
This practice is especially effective in the way it works to bridge the gap between the luxury affluent consumer group and a demographic that is fiscally below what BMW usually targets. Despite the differences, any consumer can still get the experience of driving a BMW.
These centers incubate brand loyalty while at the same time redefining what it means to “try before you buy”. Demonstrations can be such a crucial part of high involvement purchases and getting the opportunity to see firsthand the limits of a well-crafted machine can be invaluable to a purchase decision. It also lets them drive a car in a way that they may not be allowed to on city streets. By allowing potential buyers to tangibly experience the emotions of driving a luxury vehicle, car manufacturers can create that emotional connection that ultimately will motivate purchase.
Image Source: BMW PerformanceCenter Brochure