The presentation of a Japanese ceremonial samurai sword highlighted a celebration today (Wednesday) to mark the completion and formal opening of the AutoNation Toyota South Austin dealership following an $18 million, 90,000-square-foot remodel of the property. During the grand opening event at the new facility, the dealership was also presented the coveted Toyota President’s Award for the 12th year in a row – recognizing their commitment to maintaining the highest standards of customer service - all while undergoing significant disruption during the remodel process.
In presenting the President’s Award, AutoNation President and COO Mike Maroone said: “AutoNation is a proud partner of Toyota and we have enjoyed tremendous growth in the Austin market. We look forward to even more success with this new facility as AutoNation Toyota South Austin looks to continue to provide a peerless customer experience.”
A special feature of this event was the presentation by Toyota Marketing Manager, Kevin Higgins and Gulf States Toyota President and COO, Marty Collins of a ceremonial Katana samurai sword (a long standing Toyota tradition) to General Manager Dennis Annabelli in recognition of the strength of the dealership that is demonstrated by their exemplary team success in providing quality service with the highest levels of integrity.
“AutoNation Toyota South Austin has been an anchor in the Austin community, contributing greatly to the local community,” remarked Collins as he presented the sword, “Dennis and his team are strong partners in the Toyota franchise, and we like to recognize this relationship and customer service commitment by presenting his team with a Katana Sword, a symbol of strength, quality and integrity.”
The dealership has been undergoing a remodel and expansion for nearly four years, tripling its size to 133,232 square-feet that includes a new state-of-the-art service facility plus a separate shop for express lube that was completed in 2011. Along the way, the expansion was challenged by significant engineering issues surrounding drainage and water retention as AutoNation attempted to bring together adjoining properties to build their new larger dealership. The efforts to develop plans and get necessary permit approvals to mitigate those issues resulted in construction delays that caused the project to become the longest ever in AutoNation’s history.
When those challenges were finally resolved, the final stages came together pretty quickly with the completion of the interior and exterior renovations that included transforming the old service department into a modern indoor delivery department, updating the existing sales and showroom facility and the repaving, lighting and landscaping of the customer parking lot.
One of the highlights of the new sales and showroom that celebrates the local heritage is the Austin-themed mural that stretches the width of the sales floor and illustrates a wide range of Austin area landmarks from left to right – finishing with an Austin City Limit sign at the far end.
Following the formal ribbon-cutting ceremony and presentation of the Toyota Presidents Award and the Katana sword, the Toyota, AutoNation and Gulf States Toyota executives on hand all donned aprons and assisted in serving a catered lunch to all of the AutoNation Toyota South Austin team members and guests – thanking them for their efforts and contributions to the success of the dealership.
AutoNation Toyota South Austin has served the greater Austin, Round Rock, San Marcos and Bastrop areas for more than 16 years. They now offer full line sales and complete service from the new facility for all Toyota and Scion brand vehicles. AutoNation Toyota South Austin is located at 4800 I.H. 35 S in Austin, Texas.