CAR CITY, Cayman Islands
An automotive showroom worthy of its brand
Words By Natasha Were. Photography by Rhian Campbell.
A state-of-the-art gleaming steel and glass edifice, Car City’s new Mercedes-Benz showroom and workshop on Industrial Way embodies the values and standards of the brand it represents.
Completed in early 2016, it is easily one of the most modern Mercedes-Benz showrooms in the Caribbean, and its contemporary design and slick industrial-style interior are already proving to be a boon to business. It’s also testament to how far the company has come.
Car City started out over 30 years ago as the Cayman Islands' authorised dealer/distributor for Honda. As the business grew, Daihatsu, Mitsubishi, Jeep/Chrysler and Suzuki were added to the list of brands they represented. All of this was offered from a 1,400 square foot facility, with cars displayed out on the forecourt.
When, in early 2014, the business acquired the Mercedes-Benz dealership, part of the franchise agreement was that Car City would provide a dedicated showroom for the luxury cars that reflected the German manufacturer’s corporate identity.
“Mercedes-Benz wants all their dealers to have the same feel worldwide, whether it be in Cayman or in Stuttgart,” Chad Phillipps, brand manager, explains. To achieve this, the car manufacturer has developed a very defined corporate identity with everything from signage to colour schemes and furniture being standardised across all dealerships.
No expense was spared in creating a space that would do justice to the luxury vehicles on display. At 6,000 square feet it is more than four times the size of Car City’s other premises, and exudes high-end sophistication.
A fully enclosed, air-conditioned showroom includes two customer lounges, each equipped with flat screen TVs and surround sound systems, creating a space where buyers can browse in complete comfort, regardless of sun or rain. Behind the showroom, a state-of-the-art workshop features four work bays and overhead oil dispensing systems for the maintenance crew.
With high ceilings and wall-to-wall windows across the front, the interior is fresh and light-filled. A simple but sophisticated design aesthetic complemented by sleek, contemporary furniture from Workplace Environments and Steelcase, conforms to the latest Mercedes-Benz guidelines, making it instantly recognisable to those familiar with the brand.
Although designed by Florida-based Suncoast Builders, the construction and installation was all done by local firms. Automated blinds were installed by Audiophile, the air-conditioning system by Polar Bear and CREE LED lighting from Brit Hay all help to keep indoor temperatures pleasant and running costs low.
It took 18 months and many man-hours to build, but the investment is already paying off. “People come by just to see inside and look at the vehicles,” Chad says. “Customers always comment on the showroom, how great it looks, and how they feel like they are in a dealer in the US or Europe.”
The swanky new showroom certainly lives up to Mercedes-Benz founder Karl Benz’s motto: “the best or nothing”.
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