Lots of thrills, few spills at immaculate display
Garage Watch: Nissan Dundalk Auto-village, Dundalk retail park, County Louth.
You could eat your lunch off this garage forecourt.
But we didn't. We went inside. It is huge, but management made the most of the vast display area and kept plenty of space around the cars on display so customers could have a good look around.
Cars were clearly priced and used vehicles were presented immaculately inside and outside the showroom.
We were looking for a new Nissan Qashqai 1.5-litre diesel. We left 'our' 04 Skoda Octavia diesel in the parking bay.
Inside, we found a large glass display area -- very much in keeping with the Nissan theme of the many Nissan garages we have visited to date.
We found an area for customers to sit; there were brochures galore, while we also found a clean, disabled-designed toilet.
We did not have to wait long before David Norton came to us. We told him of our interest and he invited us outside.
The Nissan Qashqai recently received a range of cosmetic changes externally and internally. David took us over to both the new and older versions and explained differences between the models in great detail.
We really appreciated this comprehensive outline. He then offered us a test drive. So we drove a latte-coloured version around the large forecourt a few times while he took our Skoda outside for a spin.
David arrived back, parked up and came over to us. He liked our car and asked us what we thought of the Qashqai. He again pointed out various elements of it, such as the Bluetooth system and cruise control.
He explained the differences between the base XE that we had driven and the SV model and told us such things as parking sensors could be fitted in-house for a nominal fee.
He invited us back inside his office, where on his business card he wrote down the prices. He would allow us €4,550 on our Skoda -- we would have to part with €19,950.
As he walked us to the door, we noticed there was a beautiful counter, presses and stainless-steel sink at the rear of the reception area. David must have sensed what we were thinking.
"I would have offered you a cuppa, lads, except this combined reception/customer care area, which cost a fortune to have built and installed, was found not to comply with health and safety regulations.
"Something to do with its height and children, we had to remove the tea, coffee and drinks facilities."
We left wondering what next will hit those in this industry trying to do their best.
Location/access . . . . . . . . .9.5
Customer parking . . . . . . . 9.5
Signage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9.5
Showroom . . . . . . . . . . . . .9.5
Customer Facilities . . . . . . .6.5
Customer Service . . . . . . . .9.5
Models on display . . . . . . . . .9
Deals offered . . . . . . . . . . . . .9
A garage where they all made an effort in all quarters; forecourt, showroom and staff.
Finding no drinks facilities through no fault of their own.
A modern premises with good management. In a ‘real life’ situation we’d loved to have sat down and hammered out a deal.