Volkswagen launches new dealership in Invercargill
Invercargill's first European car dealership had its launch on Friday night, with Volkswagen opening its doors to the public.
Volkswagen New Zealand general manager Tony Ruddenklau said the arrival of the German automotive giant was "symbolically important for a number of reasons".
"It fulfils an ambition to get some representation down here – we want to make Volkswagen as accessible as we can.
"It's something they're proud of in Germany too, as this is now the southernmost Volkswagen dealership in the world."
Ruddenklau admits he was a bit biased towards the move.
While now based in Auckland, Ruddenklau was born and raised in Dipton (and is a nephew to a certain Simon William English).
"It's really exciting for some of the Aucklanders coming down to get some good southern hospitality."
Dealership manager Bobby Murrell said the Volkswagen brand would be a good fit in Southland.
"It opens up the market here to something Southland hasn't seen before.
As well as being the only standalone dealership in Invercargill, it was also the first European dealership to arrive down south.
Southland Chamber of Commerce president Carla Forbes said the introduction of the German company could only be a positive thing for the region.
"Having new businesses coming to Southland is something that is always welcomed.
"The more businesses we can attract to the region, that means we'll have more vibrancy in our local economy."
About 130 people attended the launch at the new dealership, which is located in a new building on the intersection of Dee and Leet streets.