It is no secret that the team at Channel Magazine are excited about the future of Takapuna. The new 450 space carpark is open, Hurstmere Road is in the middle of a major upgrade and a brand new town square has been approved and development will start in the not too distant future. Takapuna also received further good news recently with Mercedes-Benz North Shore relocating their business to Takapuna. The flagship dealership will open on the space that used to be Jerry Clayton and BMW in Lake Road Takapuna in early December. They plan to be there for up to two years while they build a brand new purpose built facility – also in Takapuna – in Fred Thomas Drive, opposite Lake House Arts and the golf driving range. Channel Mag's Aidan Bennett caught up with Mercedes-Benz North Shore Managing Director Craig Innes to discuss this news in early November.
AIDAN BENNETT: So Craig, some exciting changes coming up for Mercedes-Benz North Shore. What made you choose the Fred Thomas site to build the new dealership?
CRAIG INNES: We see the Fred Thomas Drive site as the gateway to Takapuna, Milford and Devonport. This will really put us in the heart of North Shore, close to a lot of our customers, as well as providing good motorway access. We are building the new dealership as something that we feel the community can be proud of.
AB: We are thrilled you are moving earlier to Lake Road in Takapuna. It’s great to have a vibrant business added to the mix at a time when business is tough for main street retail. Tell us why you decided on that move?
CI: It wasn’t our original intention to have two moves in a relatively short period of time. But we saw the opportunity to move into the Takapuna area now as too good to turn down. Our current building in the Wairau Valley was getting old and was creating issues by not being originally designed as a car dealership. This Lake Road site in Takapuna was actually Mercedes-Benz before it was BMW; those who have been around for a while will remember that. The building has good bones, is in a prime spot and with the work we are doing to modernise it we feel it will represent Mercedes-Benz well.
AB: Tell us about Mercedes Benz North Shore. How many of your team will be relocating to Takapuna?
CI: All of our current team will be relocating to Takapuna. Obviously, when we move from the interim site at Lake Road to the purpose built facility on Fred Thomas Drive, our footprint will be substantially increasing so we will be looking to increase the size of our team building up to that. We are very fortunate to have a great team and can offer so many people the opportunity to grow within our company. Our people are very important to us and these exciting projects will create even more opportunities for them.
AB: When are you expecting to open your doors in Lake Road, Takapuna, and how long are you expecting to be on that site before you open the brand new dealership in Fred Thomas Drive?
CI: We are planning to open the doors in the first half of December and to stay there for up to two years.
AB: I understand there are some exciting new Mercedes Benz releases coming up and some new arrivals at the dealership already. What excites you most about the Mercedes Benz brand at the moment?
CI: The technology in our new vehicles is what currently excites me the most. I would like to invite anyone who is not familiar with our MBUX infotainment system into the dealership to experience it for themselves and you will understand what I am meaning.
(Note: Short for Mercedes-Benz User Experience, MBUX uses AI to learn the driver's behaviour, is highly customisable, and works to adapt to and anticipate the user's needs.)
AB: You guys are very involved in the community. No doubt this helps with customer loyalty. What are your key community focuses at the moment?
CI: Yes, we enjoy our community involvement and I think the fact that we are locally owned and operated does help with this. We are proud sponsors of the Ronald McDonald House, the Institute of Golf which is based in Albany, Christmas by the Lake held at Sylvan Park, Milford Business Association, XDL Long Drive Championship and many other school and community events.
AB: I know you love living on the North Shore. How long have you been here and what do you love most about our little slice of paradise?
CI: I moved to the North Shore in 2015 and into our current home in Milford during 2017. I love living in the Milford and Takapuna area. We can just walk to the shops or to Takapuna. With the great beaches, the lake, the lovely parks and great walks there is always something to do.
AB: What will the Innes family be doing for a Christmas/New Year break this year?
CI: Hopefully we will be all moved into the new dealership at Lake Road so we can keep our plans to visit family in the Waikato for Christmas and then heading to Taupo in early January for a camping holiday.
Mercedes-Benz North Shore. Phone 09 443 3808,
Craig Innes Phone 027 801 4869 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org