North East motor group Benfield is continuing its expansion in Wearside by building a new flagship £5.7m Audi dealership in Sunderland.
Benfield recently completed the building of a new £5m Ford retail outlet on Newcastle Road and the company is now building a 12-car Audi showroom on the same site as part of a £20m capital investment programme to improve retail facilities for customers.
The 30,000sqft Audi development is due for completion in the autumn and will feature a roof top car park, a 16-bay workshop and customer service facilities including free WiFi and refreshments.
The family-owned business, which employs more than 1,500 staff and has 30 retail outlets, said it is delighted to be bringing such a prestigious development to the region.
Mark Squires, Benfield’s chief executive, said: “I am enormously proud to announce this new Audi development here in Sunderland.
“This commitment by Benfield underlines our commitment to Wearside and the proposed stunning modern design and beautiful car showroom will provide unrivalled customer service and aftersales facilities.
“Once complete it will be one of the most impressive motor retailing sites in the North of England.
“Audi’s leadership in the prestige car market continues at pace and by announcing this development we are making a powerful statement of what the brand represents.
“Customers will love the new showroom facilities, roof top car park, our customer lounge and the all-new Audi car configurator room as well as the biggest choice of Approved Used Audis we have ever been able to offer across the region.”
The new development will replace the present Audi dealership on Stadium Way.
Last year Benfield revealed growing consumer confidence had driven up sales to £622.4m for 2013 – a rise of 15% year on year.
Operating profit at the firm, which has a total of 38 dealerships in the North East, Yorkshire, Cumbria and South West Scotland, also soared by 93%, from £4.7m to £9.1m, while pre-tax profits more than doubled in the period, jumping from £3.1m to £7.3m.
The company, founded in Newcastle in 1957 by John Squires Senior and developed by John Squires Junior the present chairman, has also beefed up its digital offering by investing in its website, which had already won a national consumer award as the overall winners of the Best Desktop website in the motor industry Autotrader Click Awards.