Audi's franchise drive to create 260 jobs
LUXURY CAR giant Audi is to create up to 260 jobs in Ireland as part of a redevelopment of its dealer network here.
The German firm, which said it recorded the "best quarter in its history" worldwide during the first quarter of this year, is to spend up to €80m as it builds new "terminal style" showrooms at its 10 dealerships across Ireland.
In addition, the project will create up to 800 construction jobs between now and 2013.
Most of the investment is being made by Audi's eight franchises here and Audi Ireland managing director Andrew Doyle said the investment reflected the confidence the company has in the long term health of the Irish economy.
"The idea behind the showroom is that if you walk into an Audi dealer in Dublin, you have the same experience as if you'd just walked into one in New York. It's about building the consistent brand for the company across the board. Audi is betting on the economy here coming back sooner and quicker than most people think," he said. The first terminal opened in Sligo and ones in north Dublin and Waterford are expected to open during the summer.
In an interview with the Irish Independent, Mr Doyle also criticised the registration plate system used here, and called for the current plate, which shows the year and county, to be replaced.
"The seasonality in the market here is just madness. Around two thirds of all cars sold are gone in the first quarter of the year and a lot of that seems to come from the registration plate and the fact anyone can see the year and county it has come from," he said.
"In most other markets it's a random plate and the premium attached to the plates here is strange. It's kind of ridiculous that a piece of tin can dictate how much your car is worth."
"In a perfect world, I'd say Ireland needs a random plate like most other markets. There are even issues with the 2013 plate next year.
"It sounds ridiculous, but there is a worry about how people will react to that. Would people want to have '13' on their car? People in the industry are worried about how that will go," he added.