When you’ve got a seven story head office and dealership on one of the highest visibility roads in Sydney – leading right into the City from the Airport – it’s hard to imagine why you’d need to acquire more spare right across the road. The answer is next-level service and almost immediate service attention. General Manager of aftersales for Audi Centre Sydney Steve Cloete took EFTM on a private tour of the new Audi Centre Sydney service centre in Zetland this week.
At a cost of over $5 million you’d certainly want some bang for your buck, and while the lounge and waiting areas are top-notch and have an airline business lounge feel about them – the real investment comes into its own when you see the work-bays and understand the entire service process.
With 21 working service bays at launch, expanding to over 50 in the coming months, this service centre could handle around 250 customer cars per day – and with that much capacity the one thing they are able to offer which justifies the existence of the service centre is bookings within 48 hours. No more waiting weeks for a vacant service date.
Over 1 million dollars in spare parts stock is held on site in readiness for the next five days of oil changes and other high-tech services that are required.
The whole experience starts when you book your service. If you want, you don’t even have to call. Simply log on to the website, choose your time, enter the details of your car and the service required and you’ll even get a price estimate. Book it in and they’ll be waiting for you on the day.
When you drive into the building, you’d think you’re at an airport valet service – you’re greeted by a service rep who will be holding an iPad, into which they will enter your rego, K’s on the clock and confirm what you’re booking in for. Once again, you’ll see a price estimate for the work to spare you any “bill shock”.
As your car is taken away you’ve got the option of a shuttle bus, one of 45 courtesy cars, or an Audi A8 limousine to your destination – there’s no sacrifice on style here.
If you’re impressions of a mechanics workshop involves a lot of grease and oil, think again. Here, the oil is “extracted” from the vehicle using pumps hoses and pipes, and it makes its way through the floor to a holding area downstairs where it is taken away in bulk. For the most-part your mechanic will not need to see a bucket of oil.
And he’s comfortable too – there are windows all around – rare for a service department, and to ensure all-year-round comfort, the floor is temperature controlled. I kid you not.
Perhaps my favorite part of the tour was seeing that the service crew are split into six teams, all working hard on their allocated jobs. The teams are labelled “Nürburgring”, “Albert Park”, “Monza”, “Indianapolis”, “Bathurst” and “Hockenheim”.
There’s a strange area too – located in clear view of the customers inside enjoying a coffee – this area is what I’ll call “Triage”. If you call up, worried about your car – they will tell you to come in. No booking, no issue, just come in.
In this triage area, a dedicated team of four will get your car quickly onto the jacks, check the on-board diagnostics and let you know if there is an urgent problem, or advise you of your next steps. The idea is never to say “no” to a customer, meaning you can drive in if you’re worried and get peace of mind almost immediately. It’s a great idea.
Located in that same area a bit of kit called “safe-t-stop” sits. Using this in-floor technology, a technician can perform low-speed tests and check the braking, wheel alignment and other key features – critical for your rego check, but also excellent in reducing tyre wear and keeping things efficient.
While that’s cool, it’s across the driveway where things hot up – literally.
The sound-proof “dyno” room has a full “rolling road” (Chassis dynamometer) – something you’ll likely not see in another service centre in Australia. This thing can help test and improve the basic performance of any vehicle, and in particular the performance cars like Audi’s R8.
We were fortunate enough to get a ride on the rolling road in the R8, sitting still – at speed is something to behold. Pushing 395 horsepower sounds great, and feels great – even sitting still.
Check out the video:
Rigged up with safety gear, I got to stand behind this beast – with exhausts removed, the sound, the heat and the flames were impressive.
That’s all for show, but to have it in a service centre makes it one hell of a high-end place.
And if all this tempts you not just to take your car in for a service, but to further your love for all things Audi by choosing another Audi to replace your current one, don’t fear – there’s a sales representative on hand, and he knows how you love your car.
Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.
He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.
Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.