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BMW Using Google’s Augmented Reality Technology to Sell Cars

January 5, 2017

MUNICH — BMW announced it’s piloting a new program that will allow customers to explore their ideal BMW i3 or i8 using Google’s Tango augmented reality technology.

The automaker is arming select Product Geniuses in a “double-digit number of sales outlets” with Tango-enabled mobile devices, which customers can use to explore the exterior and interior of the car, select colors and interior options, and even interact with elements such as the doors and trunk.

“Our vehicles are emotional products and to get that emotional feeling, you really need to experience them,” said Andrea Castronovo, BMW Group vice president of sales strategy and future retail. “In situations where the desired product isn’t available on the spot, this visualization is the next best thing.”

The BMW i Visualizer was developed by Accenture. It integrates BMW i picture data into the Tango-enabled app. The automaker said it decided to use a visualizer instead of a full configurator to keep the user-experience intuitive, allowing car buyers to customize their vehicle. And once the visualization is complete, the customer can save the data and share it with others, including BMW i sales outlets via social media, email or QR code.

As of now, the app can only be accessed at select BMW outlets, but the company plans to release it to the public on Google Play later in 2017.

“Our research shows that customers are seeking improved use of technologies like augmented reality during the car-buying process to make the online-offline experience more compelling,” said Christina Raab, managing director in Accenture’s Automotive practice. “BMW i’s use of Tango technology and its integration with sales outlets and existing configuration tools is helping create the seamless multichannel experience customers are seeking.”

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