Published: 14:31, 11 October 2020
| Updated: 14:33, 11 October 2020
A huge new car dealership has opened in Kent, proving a welcome jobs boost.
The 40,000 sq ft Audi Canterbury building is on the corner of Broad Oak and Vauxhall Road. Owners Motorline say it will have the latest in corporate branding, technology and comfort.
The company is relocating the franchise, currently called East Kent Audi, from Ashford Road, Chartham , to the side of the city where it will sit among other prestigious car brands.
Motorline added the German marque to its expansive portfolio of dealerships around the country in July 2018 and says the new showroom and service centre is bigger and able to offer a much wider range of new and used cars.
Company chairman Glen Obee also expects the number of staff to grow from 40 to about 55.
It will be equipped with a drive-through service reception and digital check in, and customers will be able to relax in the stunning new showroom which the company says will feels more like a boutique than a car dealership.
Mr Obee says the new building represents an investment of £8.5m and but presented some technical difficulties from the outset.
“The site was not previously developed and had been a Victorian tip so the ground was contaminated with things like broken glass,” he said.
“We had to clear a lot of top soil and get it appropriately disposed of which was quite expensive.
“We also wanted the building to have a very low carbon footprint in the way it operates which added to the cost.”
But Mr Obee says that despite the company’s expansive network of dealerships, the new Audi site is particularly special because it is in the business’s home town where the group was founded in 1972 and continues to have its headquarters.
“We are very excited about the new site and feel we have relocated to the right part of the city where the heart of the motor trade is based,” he said.
“It is also the first new dealership we have created in 10 years.”
“The larger premises will allow us to display more new and used cars from the increasingly growing Audi range , which includes their new electric vehicles.
The Motorline Group is one of the city’s biggest business success stories, growing from its first Toyota dealership in 1976 to 55 dealerships across the country covering brands including Volkswagen, Lexus, Hyundai, Peugeot, Škoda, Nissan, Maserati, Toyota and Audi. It employs 1,800 staff and last year turned over £850m.