Ford Launches Pop-Up Stores To Crack Bay Area Market

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler

Over a year after the last domestic car dealership left San Francisco, Ford is hoping to gain a foothold in the Bay Area again with a series of “pop-up” showrooms.

“Pop-up” shops are short-term retail spaces located in trendy areas – often times, the temporary nature of the store is also a way to have some presence in an area where a long-term rental agreement would be too expensive. And in a market like San Fransico, where rents are sky high and local consumers are firmly in the “import camp”, a pop-up showroom might not be such a bad idea.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Ford is using the pop-up concept in San Francisco as part of an ongoing project this past year. Ford has been renting vacant spaces for 30 days once per quarter and placing vehicles along with experimental marketing efforts to help win over Bay Area residents, as the WSJ outlines below

The store that opens Thursday will be film-themed. People who drift into the store can do a casting call for chance for a role in an independent movie Ford is sponsoring. Other shops offered fitness classes, cooking classes and competitions and art galleries, said Travis Calhoun, who handles Ford marketing in the Western U.S.

Ford says that sales in the Bay Area are up 17 percent year-to-date, though they have a long way to go before catching up to the likes of Toyota, Hyundai and Honda. Of course, there’s one problem with the pop-up store concept; you can’t actually buy a Ford at any of the locations, and consumers will have to go to Marin County or Oakland to buy one.

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  • Jthorner Jthorner on Nov 17, 2012

    The author clearly isn't from around here. Like others have said, there are very few auto dealerships of any kind in San Francisco proper. Heck, the "San Francisco" 49ers are building a new stadium in Santa Clara, far far from downtown San Francisco. San Francisco is a small land mass with sky high real estate prices and heavily congested roads. Not a place for a car dealership. How many car dealerships are in Manhattan or downtown Boston?

  • Jthorner Jthorner on Nov 17, 2012

    FYI, Ford sells roughly as many vehicles in California as Honda does. It is not exactly scrambling for a "toe hold".

    • Jimmyy Jimmyy on Nov 17, 2012

      If you remove all the fleet sales to rental car agencies in California, as well as police fleets and municipal cars, Ford is not much of a sales force in California.

  • Jimmyy Jimmyy on Nov 17, 2012

    Not sure why Ford would be so San Francisco oriented. In California, Southern California is much larger, wealthier, and where all trends are set. In fact, most important trends are established in the New York area and in the Los Angeles area. The Bay area is just a step child of Southern California. If I was a Ford executive, I would focus on Southern California. The Bay area will just follow auto trends established in the South. It has always worked that way, and it always will.

    • See 1 previous
    • Corntrollio Corntrollio on Nov 19, 2012

      That's why some auto manufacturers set up design studios in LA, yes. But I'm not convinced the Bay Area follows LA trends as much as you say -- there aren't legions of starving actors in the Bay Area driving 3-series/A4/C-class, and Bay Area residents are more likely to want diesels, hatches, and wagons than SoCal, and less likely to want Ferraris, Lambos, and Porsches than SoCal (as an aggregate).

  • After the next quake flattens the area, these pop-ups will be quite popular, and Ford is ahead of the game. Just sayin...