HODGSON Mazda is undergoing a towering redevelopment programme to the tune of £3.5m.
The Gateshead site will have a new addition in the form of an ‘AutoPod’ – an eight storey glass tower than can display 32 cars.
Cars in the tower are moved around using a computer-controlled lift to deliver vehicles to the right location.
But it’s a system that the managing director of Hodgson Mazda has developed. Steve Hodgson set up AutoPod Solutions UK with Newcastle builder Tony Whelan, and they plan now to sell units to other car dealers.
‘It’s going to be great, and everyone, inside and outside the industry is really buzzing about it,’ said Hodgson. ‘Apart from being an incredible visual spectacle, it clearly illustrates the significant space savings that can be achieved.
‘There’s nothing worse than having to go out and inspect a car in the wind and rain. This allows the cars to keep clean and the fact that they’re secure with their engines off reduces the carbon footprint.’
Hodgson said he chose the Gateshead site to pioneer his AutoPod concept because it was the most challenging with regard to capacity and cost issues.
‘It was simply not viable to build a conventional dealership to offer the new and used vehicle displays and aftersales capacity we wanted which is why AutoPod was created,’ he said.
The company has seen both its turnover and pre-tax profit rise in the last two years. In the year ending December 2009, turnover rose from £46.1 million to £48.4 million, while pre-tax profit jumped from £931,376 to £1,325,910.
“There’s no magic formula. You deliver on your promises and your customers become ambassadors,” said Hodgson.