Hit the Streets of Newport Beach in Style
Let’s “Hit The Road Running” With Some High Performance Shiny Toys!
This town is chalk-full of some very impressive, exotic, high performance automobiles. I don’t know what people do in other cities, but here in Newport Beach shopping for luxury new cars are within a stone’s throw along West Coast Highway. Most of the world’s most famous brands can be found right here.
And there is something new afoot here in Newport. Customers are purchasing cars in creatively new and interesting ways. It used to be…we walked around the hot blacktop gliding in and out of hot car seats, and then into the “show-off” showroom for the final close. That has all changed. Now we have the option to sit down in a living room and enjoy a cappuccino. Feel the leather or perhaps build your very own custom car on a computer screen that rotates 360 degrees. This is the epitome of staging, customization and luxury. And all this time I was impressed with building a hamburger my way! It’s a whole new world. So let’s explore this, shall we…
Swanky New “Store Fronts” For Cars…The “Anti-Showroom”
As I have mentioned, there is a shift taking place to “change it up” and engage customers in the process of purchasing a new car. This new direction is a “storefront” as opposed to a traditional “showroom” setting. Here in Newport are two such spots that are located in the elegant outdoor shopping mall at Fashion Island. Brilliant!
Tesla was really the first to break away from the traditional dealership model. They felt that it was imperative to educated potential buyers about the unparalleled range of their electric cars. They did not feel that could be accomplished in a traditional dealership setting, and thus created a store front. Typically 2-3 cars are showcased on-site allowing guests to slip into the car and open the trunk and ask lots of questions. The design options are available to touch and feel along the walls, resembling pieces of art on display. This includes: the paint color, leather seat options, décor/trim and headliners. They are currently selling the Tesla S and Tesla X models and recently began taking reservations for the new Tesla 3 model which will be at a much lower price point. However the 3 will not be available until the end of 2017. For those interested in trying one, they do have cars available for test drives to qualified customers, by appointment. The cars are staged right there at Fashion Island.
Just steps away we find the new Lincoln Experience Center— and it is incredible. They have three cars that are featured in rotation, so there is always something new to see. On my recent visit, they had on display the MKT, the Crossover MKX, and the Sedan MKZ. The week prior they had a concept car that had everyone abuzz. They are breaking away from the old guard and wanting to establish Lincoln as an approachable and more “trendy” brand. They strive to have the guests draw inspiration from how the car makes them feel.
A portion of the showroom is more of a living room setting with comfortable seating, gourmet coffee service, and Wi-Fi. In the center is an iPad bar with 10 stations there for guests to step up to the high-top bar and explore design options.
But the show-stopper is their “Interactive Display Center”. You just have to see this to believe it. It has a huge tabletop computer touch-screen that allows guests to select options and customize their vehicle. The monitor is 4K resolution allowing guests to see tiny details of the stitching and so forth. Customers can select the exterior color, texture of the door, seats, interior leather, wheels, back seat configuration, and so on. The car can be rotated 360 degrees and it is really something else to see exactly how it would look if custom built. Although they do not sell cars in this showroom, they can print out the desired information and assist with locating a nearby dealer. Yes, test drives can be easily had and walk-ins are welcome too. They also do private events in this lovely space for guest receptions of up to 75 guests.
Now circling back to more traditional automobile showrooms, hands down this is a quite impressive showroom for very high-end, shall I say exotic car buyers, in the brand new Ferrari Dealership of Newport Beach. This transformation was a take-over of the previous space known for years as West Marine. It is an elegant space found here, with an incredible collection of these artful autos. As we stroll the showroom, the cars featured are the highest caliber of cars available, and so many different models to choose from. The Custom Design Center, where loyal fans “build their own car” takes up a good third of the showroom floor. There is a wall of various wheel configurations, draped leathers to caress, metal color samples depicting all the exterior color choices available and an endless array of options. It is all here to see, touch and yes….to dream. Your head will be spinning.
Just north across the parking lot is Maserati of Newport Beach. They have just taken over the previous Ferrari building to house their pre- owned vehicles. Next door is a new car showroom with some smoking hot vehicles on display. They too have a Design Center, with lots of options to create a dream-come-true high powered car. The lines and shaping of this line of cars is beautiful and a pleasure to see.
When I hear McLaren Newport Beach, I think Formula One (and now Apple). This brand has a following all its own, in the exotic, high performance category. I marvel at how they juggle their cars in and out of their corner-pocket showroom, but they certainly do just that. Loyal fans mill about on the weekends sharing their driving stories with lively conversation and camaraderie. Some of the fastest cars on the planet can be found right here. There are many models available, and some pre-owned in their inventory as well. There are about 4 vehicles for viewing at any one time in the showroom. They are now taking orders on the 5070S Coupe. Just saying!
Just north of Jamboree is an Auto Nation trifecta. It is Newport Auto Center-Audi, Bentley & Porsche. With a large outside lot, they display a vast selection of previously owned cars along West Coast Highway. Each dealership has a very spacious showroom to showcase their newest gems—- all shiny and with that new car smell. Customization is available for all three car brands and there is a Service Center on-site as well.
Just up the street is Sterling BMW and is a brand I am quite familiar with and adore. They have recently renovated the showroom and it has new and pre-owned as well. Newport Lexus has created quite an enclave on the corner of Jamboree and MacArthur with a putting green while you wait, and if you get your car serviced there free shuttle to the nearby airport! Rolls Royce is also an icon down by the airport, with a luxury facility and lots of real estate.
Did Someone Say Car Consignments?
There are two consignment dealers along West Coast Highway. Phillips Auto is one with a wide-variety of cars ranging from high end performance and luxury cars to exotics. European Collectibles is known for their vintage cars and collectibles. They also have some cars that they have lovingly restored in their Costa Mesa workshop. This is a stellar company and we have enjoyed watching the parade of cars on display in the showroom.
Exotic Car Rentals
There is one company here in Newport Beach that rents just about anything you might have in mind—from late model to tricked out SUV, and exotic sports cars and premium luxury manufacturers worldwide. Exotic Car Collection by Enterprise has 42 locations in the US and this one is located on Campus Drive just across from the airport private hangers.