BMW is taking a page from Apple for its fleet of car dealerships. The company is rolling out a "BMW Genius Everywhere" program of tech-savvy employees called BMW Geniuses whose job will be to answer technology questions for customers.
The company modeled not just the name, but much of the intent of Apple's Genius Bar from the company's massively successful chain of Apple Stores. The BMW Geniuses will be armed with an iPad in order to answer questions and show customers BMW technology available in its cars.
The luxury car brand plans on launching the program later this year with a full rollout scheduled for early 2014. According to Adage, BMW wants the Genii in place in time for the launch of its all-electric i3 automobile in the U.S.
BMW i3 Concept Coupe
The BMW Geniuses will not be selling cars, however. Their job is to answer questions and if at some point the customer wants to buy, the Genii will hand the customer off to a salesperson.
"The salesman has a complicated job," Ian Robertson, BMW board member for sales and marketing, told Adage. "He has to understand product, he has to be trained and he has to understand financial services. And honestly, it has probably gotten a little too broad. One of the things we considered very carefully: Can we break the process up into bite-size chunks?"
BMW has already launched the program in Europe after a successful trial program in the UK in 2012. In the U.S., the company plans on hiring mostly college students for the role, and they will be paid a salary, rather than any form of commission.