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A PERTH Mazda dealership has become the first in Australia to unveil Mazda’s new corporate look, following the building design trend now working its way around the world.

Melville Mazda in Perth’s south-eastern suburbs was completed in February after a two-year build and halfway through construction, the dealership was told that the brand had made subtle – yet important – changes to the showroom design.

Dealer principal Greg Dean, who with fixed operations manager Darren Harrison was hands on in the design and construction stages, said it caused some initial headaches as new building materials were introduced.

The change involves black trim – such as door and window frames, exposed columns and feature items such as toilet accessories – and Mazda’s signature blue LED lighting and then highlighted by timber items such as doors, shelving and room dividers. Mr Dean said the timber was spotted gum, indicative of the exacting nature of CI design.

Melville Mazda’s site was too small to have a workshop on the same level, so 20,000 square metres of soil was removed to create a huge underfloor workshop with 17 service bays, wash bays – including one specifically for the BT-50 – and car parking, a 30,000-litre water storage area demanded by the council in case of fire, and dedicated parts rooms.

The detail included six scissor jacks of which three are dedicated to express service cars with a camera that broadcasts the progress to a screen in the customer waiting area upstairs. Additional high-definition cameras are used for quality control.

There is also an oil and other automotive liquid room with piping to the building’s exterior. Mr Dean said this allows fluids to be refilled by suppliers even after trading hours.

Fans and ducting are used to remove exhaust gases in the basement, with additional fans controlled by carbon-dioxide sensors employed to maintain fresh air for the staff. This also acts as a way of keeping the workshop cooler in summer and warmer in winter.

Mr Dean said the workshop was modelled on a Mazda dealership in Hiroshima and replicated the blue, grey and stainless-steel colours of workshop tool boxes and equipment, designed to keep the areas tidy and clean.

“I wanted a Qantas Club feel to the areas for customers,” Mr Dean said of the customer waiting area on the ground floor that has a professional coffee-maker – two staff have completed barista training – and lounge chairs, a large television including the screen inset for the workshop, desks for people to use the internet, and even glass jars of biscuits and sweets.

It also has a “kids’ club” that plays childrens’ movies, has toys and sitting areas that are secure to allow the parents to discuss business.

The toilets are designed to harmonise with the lounge area, including the same timber and CI colours. Mr Dean said the vanity area was copied from Neil Perry’s Spice Temple restaurant toilets in Melbourne, while the automated hand dryer was specially imported from the UK because it was the only one he could find that had a black finish – just to match the new CI.

“We went to great lengths to achieve a comfortable place for our customers and guests,” Mr Dean said.

“There is also a subtle link to Japan in some of the artwork and showroom designs, as well as a 14th century samurai warrior armour that I bought in Japan.”

The building program meant Melville Mazda had to operate out of three locations – sales, service and used cars – with no showroom, which Mr Dean said was extremely difficult.

“Floor traffic jumped by 25 per cent the day we moved into the new building,” he said.

“Now it is very busy in sales and service and both departments are substantially up on when we had the previous building on this same block.”

By Neil Dowling