Shelbourne Motors has opened its new £5m multi-franchise complex, adding Renault, Dacia and Kia retail outlets to its business in Newry.
The Northern Ireland-based car retail group has also created 60 new jobs with the development of the 50,000sq-ft car retail complex, which also features a purpose-built Autoselect Used Car Supermarket.
News of the opening comes just weeks after the group reported 2018 pre-tax profits of £1.2m, a 28% improvement on the prior year.
Paul Ward, sales director at Shelbourne Motors, said: “The opening of our new £5m multi-franchise complex in Newry is a significant landmark moment for our business.
“It is the culmination of years of hard work and perseverance to fulfil our ambitions of expanding into the Newry and Mourne area.
“We worked with Clarman Architects and O’Hare & McGovern to deliver a state-of-the-art facility that matched our long-term vision, and they certainly didn’t disappoint.
“It’s been meticulously designed and constructed to provide an unequalled sales and after-care experience to customers.”
Shelbourne Motors’ Newry multi-franchised site, on Armagh Road, includes new car handover bays, drive-in service centre and lounge-style waiting area.
The group’s 60 new employees at the facility - the result of a recruitment drive launched in May - fill a number of key roles in customer service, sales and technical support at the family-owned vehicle retailer’s multi-franchise complex.
The creation of the new site heralded the addition of the Kia Motors (UK) franchise to the family-owned vehicle retailer’s portfolio takes its number of OEM partners to five across its Newry and Portadown locations.
The deal with Renault and Dacia, meanwhile, strengthens Shelbourne Motors’ relationship with the French car manufacturer having operated a franchise of the brand at its Portadown headquarters since 2003.
Ward added: “The Kia and Renault partnerships position Shelbourne Motors as the only dedicated dealership supplying new and used Renault, Dacia and Kia vehicles in the Newry and Mourne area.
“These global manufacturers are a perfect fit for us and we believe we have delivered spectacular showrooms and top-class staff synonymous with the market-leading qualities of each brand.”
Just last month Shelbourne began an e-commerce drive with the integration of GForces’ NetDirector Auto e-platform to power its online offering, including its Auto Select used vehicle programme.
Ronan Marshall, Shelbourne group marketing manager, said ecommerce is an additional string to the company’s bow, not a replacement for their traditional sales model.
He said: “In the showroom, our customers can engage their senses, and experience everything first-hand.
“There is also a unique social appeal to dealing in-person, and when visiting a state-of-the-art facility such as the one we’re opening in Newry, customers can explore and connect with us in a totally different way to online. The key is to offer the choice.”