25/03/2010 - 00:00

Audi plan takes off

25/03/2010 - 00:00

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Audi hopes to become the centre of attention for prestige cars.

Audi plan takes off

ONE of Perth’s luxury European car dealerships has undertaken a major transformation with the construction of a new $10 million showroom as part of a global investment campaign.

In about 12 months, Audi Centre Perth in Osborne Park will open a new showroom based on the brand’s global architectural concept known as ‘Terminal’.

The Terminal’s multi-level design is suited for high-density locations and, when complete, will supplement the existing ‘Hangar’ facility, which was erected on the site in 1999 and is now limiting the company’s growth locally.

Audi Centre Perth dealer principals, Peter James and David Collins, said the new two-storey building would be almost four times the size of the Hangar with room for 26 cars on the showroom floor (up from eight currently) and 18 service bays, 10 more than currently.

“The service department is offsite here but it’ll be part of the new building,” Mr James told Business Class.

The business will retain the Hangar, turning it into a prestige used-car showroom, and increase staff numbers from 60 currently to at least 70 when the Terminal opens.

Mr Collins said Audi Australia, a wholly owned subsidiary of parent company Audi AG (which he described as the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the Volkswagen group) embarked on a mission four years ago to be the number one prestige manufacturer in the world, launching the Route 15 program.

“What Route 15 is, is by the time 2015 comes Audi wants to be selling 1.5 million vehicles per year, which translates in Australia to 15,000 vehicles per year, and that figure will put them in the number one position [for luxury brands] globally and here in Australia,” Mr Collins said.

By 2010 every Audi Australia dealership will have undergone, or be in the midst of, major renovations in line with the company’s growth strategy at a cost of about $170 million nationally.

Audi started the year strongly with a record national result of 1,328 units sold for the month of January, representing a 23 per cent increase over last January, after the brand grew by 20 per cent in 2009, to 11,310 cars, as compared to 2008.

Messrs Collins and James have financed the new facility themselves as part of the company’s long-term planning.

“2009 was a hard year for everyone and we grew in Australia,” Mr Collins said.

“No other luxury brand grew in Australia last year; they all went backwards.”

Mr James said Audi sold 770 new vehicles in WA last year and handled about 400 used-car transactions, with its corporate client segment growing to about 35 per cent.

But his sights are now set on reaching 1,500 new car sales per year, or 10 per cent of the national target.

“We need the new facilities to do it,” Mr James said.

“We have a customer retention plan and another plan with the customers repurchasing the vehicles based on the fact we give them the best service they can get.

“Unless your customers think you’re the best then you’re not as good as the rest, so we’ve got people dedicated to customer service and relationships.”

 

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