The Kinsey and Lawlor names are household ones on the coast and their business premises have become landmarks over the years. Both families have very strong and long connections with the area. It came as no surprise then that the official opening was an evening of joy and celebration.
Dealer principal Johan Kinsey-Ahlers was thrilled - and perhaps a little relieved - to finally be able to declare the stunning state-of-the-art facility open.
Hibiscus Coast Municipality mayor Cynthia Mqwebu did the official honours in terms of the ribbon cutting, with head of Audi South Africa, Paul Sansom lending a hand.
“We're very proud to be in this facility. This is the next chapter of our investment on the coast,” said Mr Kinsey-Ahlers. “We're extremely happy to have a brand and facility of international standard,” he added.
He praised his staff, and also thanked T & J Architects, FS Gonsalves (construction) and Audi South Africa for their contributions and excellent work.
In his speech, Mr Kinsey-Ahlers said much consideration had gone into the wisdom of such an investment in the prevailing economic climate.
“In the end we decided to go for it and reinvest in the coast,” he said. Part of the reason that made this easier is the fact that Audi is, in his words, “a fantastic brand, which is growing in leaps and bounds”.
“There are 129 derivatives in the South African market, up from around 40 at one stage. This is our commitment to our home town and to the South Coast. We hope it will add to the future feel of the South Coast, as there are numerous other developments taking place in the area as well, like the shopping mall upgrades, the possibility of a road through the Eastern Cape, and the possibility of a Music City a little further up the coast,” he said.
Paul Sansom, head of Audi South Africa, congratulated the local team and wished the dealership every success.
On a lighter note, he said he was born close to Margate - but the town in England - and so felt comfortable right away, thanks possibly to the rain on the day!
He reflected on how Audi had grown over the years. “Long gone are the days when Audi occupied a small corner of a VW showroom, with a different coloured carpet and one car on show,” he said.
“The Audi product is a good one, with excellent service and some wonderful people who work for the company. I've heard some fantastic stories while I've been here,” he said.
He felt Audi was now a true competitor to the other German powerhouses, namely Mercedes-Benz and BMW.
“It's a credible contender alongside these two fantastic brands. Now is a good time to buy an Audi,” he said.
Mayor Mqwebu, herself a fan of Audi, congratulated the dealership on its growth and said it played a role in contributing to employment and economic growth in the area.
“You have contributed to the visual beauty of Margate. When I travel abroad people hear I am from Margate ... and they want to shake my hand again,” she said.
Mr Kinsey-Ahlers felt that after the boom on the North Coast that the pendulum was swinging back to the South Coast.
He indicated that while 2016 would have its challenges, he was still excited about the prospects that lay ahead, especially with the imminent launch of the class-leading B segment vehicle, the Audi A4.
“Be sure to come for a test drive,” he smiled.