How test drives are changing

Polstar - Milton Keynes

As electrification takes hold in the market, companies are looking at new ways to give consumers a chance to get behind the steering wheel and, test vehicles

Traditional sales models have dictated that consumers book a test drive, arrive at a dealership and, jump in the car to see how it feels. But that model is changing as the market shifts to an electrified future.

Firms such as Polestar are taking a more direct approach to sales, looking at different ways to getting consumers in vehicles, and hopefully moving them on to actually putting pen to paper and buying or leasing a vehicle.

With fewer bricks and mortar outlets than traditional brands, Polestar has opened a test drive hub in Milton Keynes and is creating semi-permanent test drive hubs around the country to satisfy consumer demand.

Building on success

Even through the challenges of 2020 and the COVID pandemic, the electric brand had thousands of test drive slots booked within hours of being made available, and Polestar wants to build on the demand with its 8,000sq ft Milton Keynes hub that will offer over 7,000 consumers the opportunity to experience Polestar 2 in a curated and personalised way before the end of the year.

The facilities will supplement the recently re-opened Polestar London and Polestar Manchester Spaces, along with other test drive activity planned for 2021 the hub will facilitate the possibility for over 28,000 consumers to get behind the wheel of the Swedish brand’s electric car. Eight vehicles – each purely for demonstration purposes, will be available for unaccompanied test drives.

Jonathan Goodman, CEO of Polestar UK said “We saw such huge demand in 2020 for test drives; it was clear we needed to deliver more opportunity for consumers to experience our fully-electric Polestar 2 first-hand. But it had to be easy to book and access and so, Milton Keynes was an obvious choice. Excellent transport links, great test drive routes and a reputation as the foremost technological centre of the UK ensure it’s the perfect location for us.”

While the hub will serve retail customerswith the most company headquarters outside of the London area, Polestar’s Milton Keynes test drive facility will be on the doorstep of some of the key decision makers at some of the country’s most prestigious businesses opening the door to fleet opportunities.

The hub forms part of a push by Polestar and the brand is also opening semi-permanent test-drive hubs in Daventry, Cambridge and Harrogate for example – over the summer.

The shift to regional hubs and pop-up facilities for test drives could well be a theme for future sales models, especially for newer or more agile businesses. And while they may not spell the end of conventional approaches, they could make more businesses look at how they bring consumers in through the door and, sign on the dotted line.