CARY, N.C. –
Businesses of all stripes have tried the inflatable gorilla, Uncle Sam spinning a sign and whatever you call that tall, wavy windsock.
Sure, they might catch the eye of a passer-by.
But so can the actual product you’re selling — especially if it’s a spinning vehicle lifted 10 feet in the air.
That’s the idea behind what 360 Auto Display provides to dealerships: a structure that elevates and rotates vehicles on the lot to draw customers in.
Auto Remarketing recently caught with up with 360 Auto Display owners Dan Matheus and Chris Purtee to explain the allure of a rotating vehicle.
The Houston-based outfit is working with dealers of kinds, they say, from luxury franchised stores to buy-here, pay-here shops, from California to North Carolina.
And in customer feedback, dealerships have told the company, “Motion creates emotion,” Purtee said in the phone interview.
“You go down dealership row where it’s dealership after dealership after dealership, that whole front line just looks the same to motorists,” Purtee said. “You’ve heard the term ‘interruption’ used in advertising, and that’s what this does. It’s an interrupter. It gets them to look and gets them into the lot.”
What they often hear, particularly from used-car dealerships, is that the rotating display, by prominently showcasing the vehicle, can help move cars that have been sitting on the lot for a while, Purtee said.
And it may not even be to showcase one particular unit that needs moving; the dealership could use the display simply to showcase a certain model on which they’re running a rebate special, for instance.
Dealers can also put stickers or customizable banners on the display unit for advertising purposes.
The point is to get the shopper on the lot.
Logistics behind set-up
Matheus said 360 Auto will come in to do the initial set-up for the rotating display and balance it. The company will also train the dealership’s porters or crew members on how to switch out the vehicle when necessary — say, for instance, a customer wants to buy the car on display.
In terms of roadside visualization, the vehicle is elevated 10 feet, Matheus said, then you tack on the actual height of the vehicle. In going through research, the company found that in terms of a rotating vehicle, the minimum height to avoid safety mishaps — i.e., someone bumping their head on the vehicle — is around 8 feet.
“At 10 feet high, there’s no chance that someone’s going to be able to walk into the parking lot looking at a car and get bumped in the head,” Matheus said.
Additionally, that’s about the maximum height when transporting the vehicle display to avoid trouble with transportation regulators.
Ten feet is also an ideal height, Matheus said, in terms of catching a driver’s peripheral vision.
“If it’s up higher than that,” he said, “you kind of lose it. Also, it’s below the parking lot lights, so the parking lot lights shine down on it. And we have lights, spinning around with the car that are shining up on the car, too.”
Additional measures on safety
The first question that 360 Auto will typically get from a dealer is, what about the wind?
The company’s answer to that?
“We’ve got an engineering stamp for 92 mph winds,” Matheus said.
Unless wind speeds are above 92 mph, the dealership does not need to take the structure down.
The structure was built so that in high wind speeds, “the unit will nose into the wind,” much like an anchored sailboat that “floats around and points into the wind,” Matheus said.
“And then once the wind lets up, where it’s safe, it’ll get going,” he said.
In other words, with high-speed winds, it is built to stop spinning. Then once it’s safe, it will begin again.
Of course, in the case of something like a hurricane or tornado, it might not be a bad idea to take the structure down, although the dealership may have more pressing concerns at that point, they said.
In terms of additional safety measures, the company has a safety video on its website and it trains dealership personnel on site on switching it out when they set the unit up. The process is relatively simple and takes 10 minutes to 15 minutes.