The first site is already open in Milton Keynes with another opening shortly in Northampton and one under construction in Glasgow.
Peterborough-based Cooks Audi is building on the growth of its Audi Approved Used Car business by moving to a new £2.5m showroom. Due to open in January 2004, the new centre will be called Peterborough Audi and will increase used car space from 30 to 75 bays. It will also have a 10-car showroom for new vehicles.
Audi has grown its market share over the last three years, mainly on fleet business. But while new vehicle sales have rocketed, used vehicles sales have been neglected.
Ian Brown, Audi's national used car sales manager, says the dealer network has hit a ceiling and needs to increase capacity. Brown's focus will be on 'segment two' business – cars in the three- to four-year-old market – which currently leaves the network. Among initiatives being considered is a reduction in parts costs and improving availability as well as offering competitive warranty and aftersales packages.
But a key point is to make it easier for dealers to source used cars, so Brown is in talks with major leasing and rental companies to open up a new repatriation channel. Audi has achieved an 80 per cent penetration of the one- to three-year -old used car market but only has 20 per cent of the three- to seven-year-old vehicle market. Brown says: “It's not about selling cars, it's about retaining the customer. This is a huge opportunity for our dealer network. More than seven million used cars changed hands last year – up 10 per cent on the previous year.
“This initiative is about getting the cars back into the franchise network and not letting them slip away to the independents. The new sites won't be based on the used car supermarket model. They will still be run by franchised dealers.”