Employees and contractors have put the finishing touches on a $4 million Volkswagen and Audi dealership that officials believe will make car shopping a better experience.
“We were completely out of space — particularly in the service area,” said Dale Smith, general manager at Village Volkswagen-Audi of Chattanooga.
Staff Photo by Kelly Wegel-- Dale Smith, general manager of the new Volkswagen dealership in Chattanooga, sits in a 2008 Beetle in the showroom on Monday.
The structure at the former location was cracking and in need of repairs, officials said.
The new facility at 6001 International Drive is just two doors down from the dealership’s old address. The facility has about 29,000 square feet and divides the VW and Audi offices into two buildings.
Officials spent the weekend moving cars from one location to the other to open the new site today.
The previous building, which Audi and VW shared, had a showroom big enough for one car, but the new location has a five-car showroom for VW and a five-car showroom for Audi.
The former facility at 6015 International Drive is for sale.
“The new store is more customer friendly and roomier,” said Ron Kwiatkowski, VW sales manager. “That’s the one thing I have been looking forward to. At the old place we were all on top of each other.”
John Adams, Audi sales manager, said customers will be more comfortable in the new facility.
“This is a beautiful, beautiful area,” he said of the showroom. “We are proud to be here and look forward to serving our customers.”
The previous facility had eight service bays, but Mr. Smith said the new location has 14 Volkswagen bays and three Audi bays. There also are two alignment bays with $80,000 worth of state-of-the-art equipment, officials said.
AT A GLANCE
There is about $3.5 million worth of combined inventory on both the VW and Audi lots at the new location.
Mr. Smith said he hired four additional sales and technical staff members and will likely hire three or four more once new inventory arrives.
“We increased the staff prior to moving here with people we knew we were going to need,” he said. “As time goes by, I know we’ll be adding more.”
A grand opening celebration is tentatively planned for August, when Mr. Smith said the 2009 models should be available. He also pointed out that VW will offer five new models for 2009.
“With the new product line, it would have made it impossible to function in the old location,” Mr. Smith said.