The “red cube” design, which is a global theme, is optional for dealers, said KMAu senior manager of national dealer development David Kaing.
“It is one of Kia’s global corporate identity programs where you have standard dealership styling or you can have a flagship ‘red cube’ showroom,” he told GoAutoNews Premium.
“On the side of the building is an arc which represents part of the Kia logo border. It is a preferred option and while it is more expensive to build, it shows the Peter Warren group is confident about the brand and is prepared to put that investment in.
“It shows the dealer network is very confident about the future of the brand. There has been a lot of investment over and above of what we expect. It is very pleasing.”
Peter Warren Kia dealer principal David Fog said the new building “was certainly necessary because of the big sales growth and, for us, also means we added another staff member so we now have four people dedicated to Kia”.
“The new showroom replaces a building that was about 40 years old and recently used for Kia, but did not have space to display vehicles,” he said.
Mr Kaing said the Peter Warren Kia showroom meets all of the brand’s CI with furnishings, tiling and signage.
The building, which cost about $2 million, fits six cars including sales delivery and has a service centre in the same area but not attached to the showroom.
“Peter Warren becomes the second dealership in Sydney with the ‘full red cube’ showroom with the other at Thomson Kia in Parramatta,” Mr Kaing said.
“All of our dealerships except two are multi-franchised. Of the 133 Kia dealerships in Australia, the average is 3.5 brands for each dealership in the PMA (Prime Market Area), though some of the bigger ones have more than that.”
Mr Kaing said there had been 15 Kia showroom expansions this year, with eight opting for the “full red cube” look.
“We have dealers investing because the brand is expanding and they are finding that their premises are not keeping pace with the increased demands on the sales and service areas,” he said.
“We have more than doubled sales over the past four years to an expected 60,000 this year, so the service facilities have to grow at the same pace otherwise there’s not enough capability to meet demand.
“We actively encourage dealers to ensure their service capability is up to standard.
We want to keep customers within our network and for that you need good facilities with no waiting.”
Mr Kaing said Kia is studying the option of off-site servicing in conjunction with the sales growth.
“We see dealers adding service bays, but in most cases, one of the advantages of multi-franchise dealerships is that the workshops are often shared. They can shuffle the workshops to meet demand,” he said.
“We have found that there are more customers coming back to Kia dealerships for servicing, so we have to ensure we have the facilities to cope with growth.”
He said there were no plans to significantly increase Kia dealer numbers beyond the current 133, however there are some opportunities (for dealer expansion) and Kia will work with current dealers to grow their business.
Rather than actively grow the network too quickly, Mr Kaing said the company wanted to ensure that each of those dealers is comfortable and profitable within their areas.
“Historically Kia had to go out and actively seek dealers almost on bended knee,” he said.
“Now it’s a case of being able to be selective when appointing new partners and ensure that the best dealers are in place.
“Kia is no longer the poor relative in the multi-franchise family.”
By Neil Dowling