• BMW dealers to add Geniuses next year
  • Geniuses will help explain features, tech
  • Aid customers with increasingly complex features

BMW dealers will soon add a new employee to help customers understand its vehicles. The so-called BMW Geniuses will play a similar role to tech-savvy geniuses in Apple stores who answer questions about Apple's complex products.

The BMW Genius Everywhere program already launched in the U.K., where dealers added the employees last year. There, a BMW Genius wears a white polo shirt that displays his Genius role. During a sale, a test drive, or even after a customer bought a car, the Genius can answer questions about BMW features or technology.

BMW says Geniuses found in U.S. dealers will be armed with an iPad to help explain features. They'll also be paid a salary rather than on commission, like most salespeople. And they'll likely be young people who enjoy technology -- just like Apple Geniuses, who are often college students or recent graduates.

To most shoppers, Geniuses will be helpful as modern cars become more complicated and feature new technology. That's especially true for high-end brands like BMW, which are constantly adding features to keep up with new trends.

Some examples of BMW's new technology include active cruise control, adaptive headlights and the brand's BMW ConnectedDrive infotainment system. Geniuses will be expected to know how each of those features work. They'll also have to explain them to buyers who may not be used to a car that can stop itself or connect to a cell phone.

While BMW hasn't set an official date for the arrival of its Geniuses, the brand hopes to roll them out ahead of its i3 electric car. Still in concept stages, the i3 is likely to go on sale early next year. That means Geniuses will have to hit the ground running. And they'll need to arm themselves with knowledge of EVs, in addition to BMW technology.

What it means to you: BMW Geniuses will add clarity to the increasingly complex car-buying process.

author photo

Doug DeMuro has a wide range of automotive industry experience, from work at a Ferrari dealership to a manager for Porsche North America. A lifelong car enthusiast, Doug's eclectic vehicle purchases include a Porsche 911 Turbo, an E63 AMG wagon, an old Range Rover and a Mercedes Benz G-wagen.

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