Geek Chic: Best Buy Squashing The Bug - Twice

Geek Chic: Best Buy Squashing The Bug

Replacing the fleet with fuel-efficient hybrids
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Best Buy is retiring its fleet of iconic black and white Volkswagen New Beetles, in which Geek Squad techs have tooled around town for the past dozen years.

Best Buy is retiring its fleet of iconic black and white Volkswagen New Beetles, in which Geek Squad techs have tooled around town for the past dozen years.

The Geekmobile bugs are being replaced by Toyota Prius C hybrid cars, which are expected to trim fuel costs and cut fleet emissions by about half.

But besides helping Best Buy reach its goal of reducing companywide carbon emissions 45 percent by 2020, the new cars — along with an updated logo — represent a renewed push for the lagging services unit.

Indeed, Geek Squad revenue has been steadily declining over recent quarters, reflecting lower warranty attach rates, reduced pricing for services, and fewer and more minor product repairs.

The underperformance has been a sore point for CEO Hubert Joly, who sees the operation as a critical way to differentiate Best Buy in the marketplace, and considers it well positioned to catch the home-automation wave. His frustration led to the departure last year of services president Chris Askew after less than two years on the job.

In a statement, Geek Squad chief inspector Nate Bauer emphasized the group’s broadened role, which goes well beyond the PC repair business that founder Robert Stephens started on the back of a bicycle in 1994. Since acquiring the company in 2002, Geek Squad’s skill set has expanded to all manner of product repair, as well as custom installation and system-integration projects.

“The new Geekmobile and refreshed logo reflect how we continue to evolve along with technology,” Bauer said.

Best Buy expects to replace more than 700 Beetles in the coming weeks, and to complete the conversion later this year. No word yet though on Geek Squad’s minivans, which help support large installations, a spokeswoman told TWICE.

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