When breaking ground for the largest luxury car dealership in the country, nothing less than gold-dipped shovels will do. And that's precisely what was employed for the official launch of construction of Momentum Audi's new 170,000 square foot home at 2120 Southwest Freeway.
Tuesday's ground-breaking ceremony saw a dozen key players in the project don Momentum Audi hard hats, pick up the gilded shovels and toss the sand in the age-old ritual.
Despite the name on the hard hats, you won't be calling it Momentum Audi for long. When the doors open on the new $20 million facility (some 12 to 14 months away), the name will change to Audi Central Houston.
Cars in the 5,000 square foot showroom will be visible from the Southwest Freeway.
Jared Lang, Momentum Audi general manager and dealer operator, explained the quantum leap from the dealership on Richmond, saying "Audi brand is the fastest growing luxury brand in the country and we're experiencing exponential growth above and beyond that . . .
"We keep growing so we've got to build this seven-story facility so we can keep up with growth."
That's right, seven stories. According to Fred Goree of Goree Architects, which is designing the building, the original plan for a six-story structure has expanded a level. Cars in the 5,000 square foot showroom will be visible from the Southwest Freeway.
Lang said that when the dealership, part of the Sonic Automotive family, opened 11 years ago, Momentum Audi sold 40 news cars and around 15 used cars each month. Today, Momentum sells 110 new cars and 60 used cars each month and services some 40 automobiles each day. The dealership ranks number seven in the country out of 300 Audi storefronts.
Interestingly, Momentum is number one in sales of the exotic sports model R8, easily priced into six figures. "You would expect that to be Miami or Los Angeles," Lang quipped."We are the new LA. Right? That's what we keep hearing."
Don Stephenson, Audi of America regional director, told the gathering that Audi is around only 7,000 cars away from being the most popular luxury car worldwide, coming in behind BMW. Audi has plans to top that category.
"This is a great step in that direction," he said.