Next & Rockar select Ford for first hybrid fashion-motor store concept

Ford Next Manchester

Ford is poised to open a new-look, five-car digital concession concept within Next’s newly-refurbished store in Manchester’s Arndale shopping centre.

Slated to open in May, the hybrid fashion and motoring concept is a collaboration between Ford, Next and motoring retail specialist Rockar.

Next first announced a deal with Rockar back in January, with a scheme that would give people the chance to shop for clothes and a new car within the same store.

The partnership would see the fashion retailer transform excess space within its stores into a Rockar-style, digital-experience car dealership stores.

However, the specific car brand it would showcase had not been specified until today.

Rockar has developed a bespoke “buy online” platform for Ford and is facilitating the setup of the digital store.

Test drives will be available from the Arndale Centre, and new cars can be handed over from within the centre.

Rockar is supporting Ford recruiting and training a team of 15 product experts and support members who will not be paid commission but will be chosen based on personality and product knowledge to offer a “pressure-free” car buying experience.

At the same time, Ford has worked with Rockar to launch an online car sales platform.

The platform will allow customers to specify, finance, part exchange and order a new car for delivery to participating dealers, to Ford’s concession in Next Manchester Arndale, or to a home address anywhere in the UK.

Offering cars only, Ford’s digital display at Manchester Arndale will be updated regularly and will initially feature the new 2018 ranges of Fiesta, EcoSport and Mustang models.

“We have the most extensive dealership network, which has received significant investment including new FordStores, Transit Centres and Mobile Service Vans,” Ford of Britain chairman and managing director Andy Barratt said.

“These premises will remain to serve the many customers wanting to make a special trip to a traditional dealer.

“There is, however, also a growing appetite to browse for cars in other retail environments – particularly online – which are needs that we are meeting with these new 2018 ventures.”

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