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Audi goes to town on city dealership

Ease the squeeze: The new Zagame-owned West Melbourne aftersales site is also the largest Audi service centre in Australia.

$25 million upgrade to bring Audi’s flagship Melbourne showroom up to speed

21 Nov 2012

AUDI has announced a $25 million upgrade for its flagship Audi Centre Melbourne dealership, bringing it up to speed with the massive, multi-story facilities in Sydney and Brisbane.

The plan involves a complete overhaul of the existing Swanston Street site, ending speculation that Audi was looking at a different inner-city location for its largest Victorian dealer.

The upgrade – a collaboration between Audi Australia and franchise owner Zagame Automotive – will kick off in March 2013 and will take around 12 months to complete.

The current eight-year-old downtown Melbourne sales and service centre has been deemed too small to cope with Audi’s planned expansion to sell more than 15,000 vehicles in Australia by 2015 (it sold a record 14,511 units in 2011 but is down 3.0 per cent so far this year).

Audi Australia corporate communications general manager Anna Burgdorf told GoAuto the upgraded showroom would be similar in design to the mammoth eight-level airport terminal-style development – known as a ‘lighthouse’ – in Sydney.

That site, which also doubles as Audi corporate headquarters, opened in 2009 and was built at a cost of around $50 million.

 center imageFrom top: Audi A3 Sportback RS4 Avant SQ5.

Helping to ease the squeeze at the current Melbourne dealership before the re-build starts will be Audi Centre Melbourne’s new $1 million West Melbourne approved used-car and servicing centre, which opened its doors this week.

The 5519 square-metre former Zagame Alfa Romeo and Citroen site in King Street, West Melbourne – just a few blocks from the Swanston Street showroom – takes over as Audi Centre Melbourne’s designated service centre. With 30 workshop bays, it is the largest Audi aftersales facility in Australia.

As well as service and Audi-approved pre-owned cars, the King Street site will also sell new cars for 12 months between March 2013 and 2014 in which the main Swanston Street new-car showroom is being re-done, after which it will revert to pre-owned and aftersales.

Audi Centre Melbourne and West Melbourne owner Bobby Zagame said both the brand new site in West Melbourne and the re-build in the CBD reinforced his company’s commitment to the Audi brand.

“A successful business is built on offering the best customer service,” he said.

“With a premium brand like Audi, it’s even more important to be offering our customers a premium experience when they enter our showroom – from new car sales right through to service and pre-owned vehicles.

“With the opening of our new West Melbourne aftersales facility this year, followed by our brand new showroom in the centre of Melbourne which will open in early 2014, we plan to provide exceptional experiences for Audi owners for many years to come.”

Zagame Automotive owns dealer franchises in Melbourne for a range of other brands including Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, Fiat/Alfa Romeo and Lotus, as well as Audi’s fellow Volkswagen Group brand Skoda.

After several years of record sales growth, Audi Australia is gearing up a period of “consolidation”, a part of which will be the expansion of other aftersales sites around the country.

Audi Centre Perth has just completed its pre-owned and aftersales centre in Osborne Park, while Audi Centre Sydney is soon to start construction of its major new aftersales centre on South Dowling Street, Sydney.

With the notable exception of the brand new A3 Sportback due around May 2013 and facelifted Q5 at the end of this year, most of Audi’s new arrivals over the next 12 months will be niche models with low sales projections – many of which have a noticeable performance bent.

These include the TT RS (December 2012), RS4 Avant (January), R8 facelift (March), RS5 Cabriolet (mid-2013), SQ5 (mid-2013), S3 (September) and possibly an RS version of the Q3 SUV (December 2013).

Other models include the A6 and A7 Biturbo diesels, and the A6 petrol-eelctric hybrid, both of which are due around February.

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