Audis 45 million brand center just outside London will be the carmakers fourth UK hub when it opens in early 2008.
Audi says the five-story brand palace will be its largest sales center in the world. As well as 2,000 square meters of showroom space for new and 1,000 used cars, the 17,000-square meter London center will have a museum, Internet cafe and boutique.
Audi has doubled its product lineup in the past 10 years, so the brand needs flagship dealers, said Jeremy Hicks, Audis director of UK operations.
The center, in the west London suburb of Brentford about 15km from the city, is being financed by Audi UK, but the site will be leased back to the Sytner dealer group, which already runs a nearby Audi franchise.
Toby Procter, of auto retail analysts TrendTracker, said Audi had chosen a good location on Great West Road, a busy route between Heathrow Airport and central London.
North and west London have the highest concentration of car sales in Europe, he said. Local dealers only influence 25 percent of the market, so this will probably be seen as part of Audis marketing costs rather than its sales costs.
Audis first UK hub was a 22 million center in Glasgow, which opened in 2004. Its second was in Cardiff, Wales, which opened this year. Another will open in the UKs second-largest city, Birmingham, early next year.
Audi has increased its sales in the UK in the past six years, selling more than 81,000 units in 2005. In 1999, the figure was 40,615.
The UK is the carmakers third largest market for unit sales after Germany and the US.
You may e-mail Tony Lewin at [email protected]