TWO LUXURY SHOWROOMS CELEBRATE A NEW CHAPTER IN THEIR ESTEEMED HISTORY, SET ON TAKING THE ULTRA PREMIUM CAR BUYING EXPERIENCE TO EXTRAORDINARY NEW HEIGHTS
BY ERIK SCHONING PHOTOS BY ALEX BARRETO
Driving down Route Four in Paramus, there are all sorts of routine businesses: furniture stores, restaurants, banks. But tucked unassumingly along the commercial stretch is something truly extraordinary, a pair of state of the art dealerships pushing the limits of what a showroom can be. Enter Rolls Royce and Bentley Paramus.
These showrooms have been a long time in the making. The Paul Miller Auto Group has been selling Rolls Royce since 1991 as part of its luxury car portfolio, which includes BMW, Porsche, Audi, Land Rover, and Jaguar. In recent years, as business grew, it became clear that the Parsippany facility that today still houses the Rolls Royce and Bentley service centers was too small for a dedicated showroom. Paramus was chosen as the ideal new home for Rolls Royce and Bentley, given its prime location and convenience for luxury car enthusiasts in and around Bergen County. Jim Caruso, who had managed Paul Miller BMW for 15 years, was chosen to helm the new operation at 331 Route 4.
“We just moved in June of this year,” Caruso said. “We started the process prior to COVID, which kind of derailed it for a year. It took us about two years to actually move into this new, prime location.”
Prime it is; in a crowded car market, luxury vehicles still turn heads, especially when an iconic name like Rolls Royce or Bentley is thrown around. Caruso and his team, in conjunction with the carmakers themselves, have designed a cutting edge showroom that exemplifies the brands’ strengths: design, pedigree, and quality. In fact, Rolls Royce Paramus is the first Rolls Royce dealership in the country to debut the brand’s latest consumer interface. The only other Rolls dealerships in the world to feature this new showroom design? London and Dubai. New Jersey, it seems, is in good company.
Given current market conditions and industry wide inventory shortages, it’s unlikely any customer will find the perfect car sitting on the lot. (And in the high line of vehicles, buyers don’t want pre packaged luxury anyway.) Tailored, custom vehicles are the name of the game, and these showrooms rely on a custom configuration process to ensure clients have a voice in designing their ideal ride.
“This is a total bespoke process where we’ll build the car of their dreams in our state of the art configurator rooms,” Caruso said. “We configure high resolution renderings of what the car is going to look like. We have hides and color swatches, wood samples, even thread samples. We have all kinds of different materials to show so clients can physically interact with their dream cars.”
This is a creative process, a chance for informed, discerning clients to hammer out even the smallest of details. Despite the esteemed pedigrees of Rolls Royce and Bentley, these are brands equipped to adapt to customer trends and needs. An inscribed sign in the Rolls Royce showroom reads: “From Goodwood to Paramus,” a nod to both the brand’s English origins and its adopted New Jersey home. These cars aren’t museum pieces; they’re high end road machines designed for the 21st century driver.
One of the most exciting upcoming releases for Rolls Royce is the Spectre, the company’s first all electric vehicle slated for release in late 2023 or early 2024. According to Caruso, there is already great interest in the car, an exciting sign for a brand famed for staying ahead of the curve. In the Bentley showroom, there is a great emphasis on new product, from the Flying Spur to the Continental and Bentayga SUV. With any of these vehicles, it’s impossible to go wrong. As Caruso pointed out, some of his clients are loyal to one, while others own both.
“Bentley is more of a sporty car, where a Rolls is more of a luxurious driving car,” he said. “People refer to a Rolls as a magic carpet ride: very smooth. They handle really well, but when you drive down the road, it’s like floating. The Bentleys are more aggressive; they have more attitude and are a lot more sporty.” Ultimately, though, a customer’s experience with Bentley or Rolls starts before they ever get behind the wheel; it begins when they walk into the dealership. This is why customer service is such a high priority for Caruso and his team: you don’t get to redo a first impression. Caruso hand selected his team, working only with people who already have experience in high line sales. When your clientele is informed and particular, it’s crucial to have a staff who can answer questions with confidence. Still, business is business, and Caruso has found that any showroom runs best when you stick to the fundamentals.
“I’ve been in the business for 30 years,” he said. “It’s all about treating people right. We go out of our way to really make buying one of these cars an incredible experience.”