Audi Centre opens

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A €20m investment by the Charles Hurst group has delivered a colossal car dealership located at junction 13 of the M50 in south Dublin. The 10,000 square metre Audi Centre is not only vast but clever in its design too. The multistory Audi only dealership represents a world class experience for customers according to head of business Donal Duggan. On a tour of the state of the art dealership, that combines three former Audi dealerships in Ballsbridge, Sandyford and Goatstown, we were instantly impressed by the scale of the highly visible branded building.

The ground floor features a soft approach to the traditional hard sell, with a desk free feel. There is plenty of lounge seating and a cafe where the complimentary coffee is ultimately absorbed by the customer. Flagship models such as the A8 and R8 are visible here, set in between the twin escalator that brings customers up to the main new car floor. At present 17 Audi models are displayed on the first floor, although more could fit. The Audi Centre is also an Audi Sport centre so all of the RS and R range are available.

Set a little further back on the floor is another cafe area and a customer personal lounge (CPL) where potential buyers can experience a virtual car using the latest technology. A high powered on site computer system allows the sales staff to show all of the range of models, trims, and colour and wheel combinations available on a large TV display they control with a tablet or via a virtual reality 3D ‘Oculous’ headset. The CPL is unique to the Audi Centre and a great aid to selling as it lets potential customers experience the multiple model grades or colour combinations of a car they may be interested in, in comfort.

Beyond the customer lounge area you enter an area similar to an airport multistorey car park. This part of the building is under cover but the sides are open to the elements. A view of the Dublin mountains breaks up the precise lines of circa 100 Audi approved used cars. The machines on view are all valeted on site to within an inch of their lives. All number plates are Audi approved branded and only a car expert could really tell which model years were which, again a gentle yet clever selling ploy.

Donal Duggan stressed that the new building was designed to be one where the staff, 60 at present, should be happy to work and stay in. He likened the dealership’s philosophy to an international tech company. Customers are encouraged to stay while their car is being service in one of the 18/19 bays in the workshop. In 2018 Duggan expects a 10 per cent growth in sales and the following year up to 25 per cent growth. A new road layout is planned for the Sandyford estate and it will see all traffic accessing the M50 pass right by the front door of the Bracken road Audi Centre. In terms of the building being future proofed, there is even a high capacity electricity substation on site. At present there is a 96Kw Delta electric vehicle charger in the parking lot caters for the Audi e-Tron range. Coincidentally, directly opposite the Audi Centre is Tesla’s headquarters, that in comparison, looks minuscule.

Does the Audi Centre model signal the end for small dealerships in the same way that the US giant Walmart killed the corner store? Not exactly, as long different brands want to have their own outlets there will be a place for more modest operations.

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About Author

Michael Sheridan

Michael is Motorhub's Editor. Well known from TV and radio, Michael has been writing, presenting and judging cars since the mid 90's. He is a renowned Producer/Director and documentary film maker. Dozens of credits include: The Whole Way Round (Gay Byrne), The Shamrock Run (Alan Shortt), The Viking Run (Clodagh McKenna) and The Irish 66ers (David Mitchell) and The Climb for Kids (Colin Farrell). Print credits include: the RTE Guide (motoring editor 1999-2003), many national daily papers and Sundays including The Irish Times (freelance) plus other magazines. National radio credits include multiple at RTE Gerry Ryan show, the Mooney Show, The Dave Fanning Show, Drivetime etc. TV credits as a motoring expert include RTE's flagship current affairs show Primetime and TV3's Ireland AM. Michael also presented RTE's car show Drive! in the late 90s and directed some items in MPH2 on TG4. Michael contributes weekly on motoring issues to The Last Word show with Matt Cooper on Today FM. Michael has represented Ireland's motoring journalists in Motorsport at the International Mazda MX-5 endurance race series in Italy and the Arctic Ice Race. He has been a Car of the Year Judge for over 18 years and is a former Chairperson of the Association of Professional Motoring Press (APMP).

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