The automaker has opened the doors on a $65 million renovation of one of its dealerships, which will be the flagship for BMW as it marks 40 years in Australia.
BMW splashed out on the luxury refit of the company-owned dealership in Sydney’s upmarket Rushcutters Bay, which was unveiled at a launch event last week.
“Our focus is on creating positive and unique impact at each and every touch point with our brands throughout the entire customer journey,” the Australian division’s CEO, Vikram Pawah (pictured), said.
“We’re also proud to open this new BMW Group Sydney dealership in the same year as we celebrate 60 years of MINI’s global success and, of special importance to our local business, our 40th year of operations in Australia.”
Mr Pawah said it marks a “significant investment” in the Australian market by BMW.
“We are in an excellent position to play a key role in shaping the transformation of the automotive industry and enhance our position in the market.”
BMW Group’s regional senior vice president, Hendrik von Kuenheim, added that Australia has become a key sales market for the group.
“Australia is punching above its weight and is an important contributor to the company’s global success, which last year saw a BMW, MINI or Rolls-Royce car sold every 13 seconds,” he said.
When it first launched into Australia, BMW sold an estimated 1,600 vehicles. That has since grown to 23,000 vehicles in 2018, just under half of which were sold within the Sydney and Melbourne metropolitan areas.
Despite the heavy city presence, SUVs make up some 60 per cent of the group’s sales in Australia, Mr Pawah said.
Why such a major redevelopment?
Speaking with My Business ahead of the official launch, Mr Pawah said the site previously underwent significant change back in 1994, but that this latest redevelopment is designed to enhance and redefine the entire customer experience.
“Due to the expansion of our product line-up, increased sales spend and demand for service and parts obviously, we undertook a complete redevelopment and demolished all the existing buildings and structures to create this new facility,” he said.
“We first started planning this redevelopment around five years ago, and our dealership temporarily relocated to Alexandria.
“Arguably it will be the largest, or one the largest, redevelopments ever undertaken by an automotive manufacturer in Sydney, I can say for sure.
“The aim behind this [new] Rushcutters Bay facility is to create an epitome of our brand in Australia. I think being the 40th year of our operations in Australia, it is really an opportune time to really say our commitment to Australia... and also 30 years in Sydney.”
Mr Pawah added that there is constant refurbishment happening across its network of 44 dealerships nationwide, but these are all franchised, and the Rushcutters Bay dealership is the only company-owned one, making it the brand’s Australian flagship.
About the new facility
The company said that the newly redeveloped showroom has around 28 new BMWs and 26 MINIs on display, including the largest display of its M series anywhere in the southern hemisphere.
It incorporates showroom space for both the BMW and MINI brands, as well as the largest BMW-specific workshop in Australia.
Some 13 charging stations for its electric i series were also incorporated into the new facility.
According to the group, some 51 tons of support steel, more than 170 glass panels weighing up to 930kg and 3,400 sqm of floor and wall tiles were used as part of the refurbishment.
As the head of the BMW in Australia, My Business was curious to hear what Mr Pawah considered to be the most valuable piece of advice he had ever been given in business.
The avid tea lover said it was advice that he had picked up very early in his working life.
“I think the best piece of advice has been ‘be transparent and keep to your commitments’,” Mr Pawah said.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.