The K6 red telephone box is an icon, its familiar shape part of the British landscape and entrenched in popular culture. Even in the age of the mobile phone, these otherwise redundant boxes are being put to use in increasingly innovative ways.
From book shops to art galleries and pubs to a home for a village defibrillator, the K6 is enjoying a tremendous afterlife. And now, thanks to Peugeot, you can now use one to order a new car.
Take a walk into London’s Russell Square from Tuesday 12th September and, sitting in the vicinity of the cabmen’s shelter and ornamental fountain, you’ll find what Peugeot is calling ‘the smallest car dealership in the world’.
Sadly, ‘Peugeot Russell Square‘ doesn’t offer Tardis-like qualities: you won’t be able to walk in and drive way in a 108 city car or 3008 crossover. Instead, the K6 houses an iPad connected to an e-commerce portal, giving customers the chance to browse, configure, finance and buy a new car.
To give you the authentic car dealer experience, customers will able to take a seat and browse a miniature ‘forecourt’ in the form of a counter displaying 1:64 scale model cars. There’s no word on whether you can order a ‘hotter than the sun’ coffee in a styrofoam cup.
In true ‘Changing Rooms’ style, the K6 has been treated to a full Peugeot makeover and is designed to promote the company’s ‘order online’ service, which launched in January 2017. To date, the 208 is the most popular car, accounting for two in every five cars purchased online.
“Not that many years ago, the process of buying a new car involved reading lots of printed literature and trawling around dealerships,” said David Peel, Peugeot managing director. “Now, despite a car being the second-largest purchase most people make in a lifetime, it can be done from anywhere – even from inside a phone box.”
Peugeot’s Russell Square telephone box will open between 7am and midnight every day, before closing at the end of September. Access is gained using a unique code, available via the Peugeot website.
The 8ft x 3ft K6 red telephone box is part of Britain’s street furniture and was commissioned in 1935 to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of King George V. Some 60,000 were installed, and there are thought to be around 11,000 remaining.