Open Road Auto Group is just another dealership group that operates Volkswagen and Audi stores, but its one-of-a-kind service has been instrumental in winning over car buyers. Open Road, which leases the 11th Avenue building from Volkswagen Group and operates both VW and Audi stores, provides free valet parking and shuttle service to all visitors.
The cars are then parked into a shared seven-story service shop behind the separate VW and Audi stores. Open Road is providing this service since there is no parking lot available to customers outside the VW and Audi stores, which just opened in 2012. Michael Morais, Chief Operations Officer of Open Road, remarked that the valet service has been occasionally abused by customers.
He related an experience when a customer dropped off a car at the dealership and then went on a weeklong cruise. Open Road employees also carried the customer's suitcases across the West Side Highway to a cruise ship terminal on the Hudson River.
Morais, however, said they are putting up with this abuse as part of meeting the expectations of VW and Audi, which invested $135 million in the stores. VW and Audi regard the stores in Manhattan's main dealership district as test beds for new retail ideas.
Morais remarked Open Road and its employees have to go “above and beyond the expectations of the customer," as part of their role in the project. Although VW and Audi will not start other dealerships to provide the same free valet parking, this type of service is what luxury carmakers are expecting their dealers to adopt to win over car buyers. [source: automotive news - sub. required]