- Laurel BMW, a member of the AutoNation group, often sees pet owner clients who need to bring anything from "purse puppies" to full-size dogs in the car with them.
- In response to clients' needs, the dealer has set aside two brand-new BMW X1 SUVs as pet-friendly loaner vehicles in the service department.
- Special dog-friendly seat covers are in the plans, and meanwhile, Service Manager Steve Olson told Edmunds, "if the dog is bigger, the seats in back fold down flat."
WESTMONT, Illinois — Laurel BMW in the western suburbs of Chicago has been catering to pet owners all along, with dog biscuits at the reception desk and at the service department's cashier counter.
Now the dealership has upped the ante, setting aside a pair of brand-new BMW X1 compact sport-utility vehicles as "pet-friendly" loaner cars.
Service Manager Steve Olson told Edmunds that it's all part of the dealer's intention to surprise and delight its customers.
"Our general manager came up with the idea," he said. "This is fairly new — only 10 days to two weeks old, but it will be a nice thing for both us and the customers in the long run."
Olson said he believes dog-friendly seat covers are in the plans, but for now, the seats can fold back to let bigger dogs recline.
Although Olson mentioned the fact that some customers have pet allergies as one reason there are special loaners for pet owners, he emphasized to Edmunds that the program is really more because "we thought it would be a nice thing to have. I think we're pretty dog-friendly, and a lot of people already do bring their dogs in. It's a good little perk."
Laurel BMW is part of the AutoNation group of auto dealerships. It has been in operation for 35 years and has a full fleet of about 80 loaner cars for customers in a dealership with 34 service bays. The pet-friendly loaner program started gathering likes on Laurel BMW's Facebook page on September 27.
Edmunds says: Expect other dealers to copy this great idea.