Regular readers of Channel will know that we love championing businesses that are doing great things in our community. We strongly believe that a thriving business community makes for a healthy community. We particularly like to highlight those businesses that are investing locally. One such business is Continental Cars. They’ve just opened New Zealand’s largest new and used vehicle dealership right here in the heart of the North Shore. Bordering the northern motorway on Wairau Road, the new Continental Cars BMW dealership has been several years in the planning and sustainably built into a four level state-of-the-art design. Channel Magazine’s Aidan Bennett went along for a guided tour just after the dealership opened its doors late last year.
A BMW dealership has been an institution in Takapuna for decades, for many years as Jerry Clayton BMW, and more recently as Continental Cars BMW, after the iconic Auckland business Continental Cars – part of the Sime Darby Motor Group – purchased the dealership a few years back. Having outgrown the central Takapuna site, Continental Cars BMW has given the North Shore a real vote of confidence by building their futuristic new dealership only a couple of kilometres away. They’re calling it New Zealand’s biggest and boldest luxury dealership.
It is the first dealership of its type in New Zealand, following the BMW worldwide brand style. Only BMW Sydney, located in Rushcutters Bay, is comparable to what has been created here on the Shore by Continental Cars BMW.
To provide Channel readers with a good introduction to the new dealership I suggested that the dealership’s marketing dynamo Wendy Jefferson took me on a guided tour. It was a big tour, as Continental Cars BMW’s multi-million-dollar new home spans four levels.
“This new dealership is the destination for people looking to buy and service BMWs,” explained Dealer Principal Geoff Light, when the facility opened in late 2019. And it certainly is that.
As you drive up to the new BMW dealership you can’t miss it. A 15,000 square metre site that is home to a 6,000 square metre building. A feature is the incredible new vehicle showroom situated on the ground level of the site, a site that slopes up toward the northern motorway. If you are going to visit you have two choices of parking - just outside the main reception entrance via the entrance on the southern end, or you can choose to take the northern side entrance and ramp that takes you up to the first floor under-cover parking. This is also the service reception area. The dealership is so big and important that it even has its own traffic lights at the southern entrance!
I chose the northern side entrance when I visited. I drove up to use one of the 33 undercover carparks on level one and my host Wendy met me at the spacious first floor service reception area. Just about the entire old Takapuna dealership would fit in that service reception area I reckon. If Wendy hadn’t been there to meet me I would have been greeted by a concierge in the service reception. Also on the same level are the management and admin offices, meeting rooms and a customer relaxation room equipped with two massage chairs.
A central staircase then takes you down to the ground floor showroom level, where there is a reception area and a large new vehicle showroom along the front with all the latest new BMW vehicles on display. The southern end of the ground floor showroom is a dedicated experience showroom for BMW M-sport vehicles, and there is also a dedicated area for the growing electric vehicle range. The dealership also has five EV charging spaces. Behind reception is the customer hospitality area to make customers feel totally at home – that is if home includes a barista style coffee bar and a living wall. Adjacent to this is the luxury vehicle area. The day I visited a brand-new BMW M850i was a feature in that space.
Taking delivery of your brand new BMW is a real event at the new dealership. There are two ‘Champagne Experience’ delivery suites where purchasers and their families are made to feel extra special, with some touch-points unique to the dealership.
The southern end of the dealership has the huge parking area for customers as well as the two-level premium used vehicle area. Here you will find BMW demonstrators and used vehicles, loads of them, as the dealership has space for over 150 vehicles. The used vehicle team has itsvery own spacious office area on the upper level of the used vehicle area.
“We promise our premium used car clients they will receive the same brilliant customer service as the people buying our latest, top-of-the-line models,” says Geoff Light. “All our customers are important to us, whether they are looking to purchase or service a vehicle. There’s no reason anyone should miss out on the luxury car experience.”
The upper floor of the dealership – level with the northern motorway – is home to the parts and services areas. This is where the technicians work, including three BMW Qualified Master Technicians, with technology that no other dealership in New Zealand has. The service team can service up to 50 vehicles per day, and the dealership is also now an authorised MINI service and parts dealer. MINI owners can now have their car serviced with expert technicians at the new dealership who also stock and supply MINI parts in the massive onsite parts warehouse.
Also on the motorway level is a dedicated automatic carwash and a display box that can show off three vehicles to passing motorists.
A feature of the investment that Continental Cars BMW has made with this new dealership is the benefits for staff. There is onsite parking for all staff –and staff numbers are increasing, about 15% up on the number in Takapuna and that is expected to grow. Great news. New staff will love the other amenities for the CCBMW staff in the 6,000 square metre building: staff lockers, showers, their own toilets and changing areas and a huge lunch room on the third level that Wendy says has become a popular meeting spot where staff interact like never before. I reckon the staff are spoilt at Continental Cars BMW and getting new recruits won’t be difficult!
The new dealership has also made a priority out of being eco-friendly; it features solar panels and rainwater catchment and recycling for washing cars, as well as electric vehicle charging stations for BMW’s huge investment into electric and hybrid vehicles.
“This incredible dealership is a sign of our commitment to the BMW brand in New Zealand, and especially our focus on customer service initiatives,” addsGeoff Light. “After many years of planning and three in the making, we’ve thought of everything, from dedicated showrooms for M-Sport and electric vehicles, to making sure there are plenty of parking spaces at the new dealership location, so customers can have a truly hassle-free experience.
“We are also keen for this to be a facility used by the Shore. We expect our large showroom to be a great event space and we will be encouraging our customers and entities we are involved with to take advantage of it. It will be ideal for business and charity events.”
As this issue of Channel was going to press in late January, Geoff Light, Wendy Jefferson and other members of the Continental Cars BMW team were planning their first big function. Their grand opening party which will take place in mid-February. And celebrate they should. What they have created here on the Shore is heart warming!
For more information on Continental Cars BMW, visit www.continentalcars.co.nz/bmw