Cuyahoga Falls -- German engineering is fittingly represented in a sharp, clean and strong structure on State Road that is the new home of Cascade Audi, now known as Audi Cuyahoga Falls.
One-third of Cascade Auto Group's foreign car trifecta, Audi Cuyahoga Falls opened the doors of its chrome-plated showroom earlier this month. Pat Primm, part owner of the dealership, is pretty proud.
Taking a visitor on a tour of the building, Primm points out a unique feature inside: a racetrack on the back wall. "This wall is supposed to represent a racetrack in Germany where Audi did their testing in the '40s and '50s," he said. The wall feels like asphalt and has a broken white stripe down the middle.
On the floor of the showroom are the latest models of Audi, illuminated by precisely placed lights in the ceiling.
"Each one of those light patterns is made for one car," he said. "The architects actually had the placement of the cars in mind when they were doing the design, so the lights shine down and highlight the look, color and vibrancy of the paint on the cars."
Like Cascade's newly expanded Subaru showroom, which opened at the end of last year, the Audi showroom has a Wi-Fi bar where customers can sit and access the internet on their mobile devices. Customers waiting on their cars can get coffee in Audi's Quattro Cafe.
The entire project including the Audi and Subaru buildings and upgrades on campus infrastructures such as IT, phones, security and parking, represents an investment of nearly $5 million, said Michelle Primm, managing partner of Cascade Auto Group.
Primm said she was pleased with the work accomplished by Renier Construction. "Renier has been a good partner on this project," she said.
In the service area, Pat Primm points out that instead of a plastic or cardboard sign listing specials, there is a high-defintion, big-screen TV with up-to-date specials and pictures of the latest models. The doors to the service area are opened with a motion sensor, he explained. Then he demonstrated how fast the doors open: 2.5 seconds.
Pat explained a slight name change that took place when the sign was hung on the new building. "As we progressed into the new Audi building, part of the requirements was we had to change our name, he said. "All the Audi dealerships around the world are called Audi [followed by] whatever city they are. We are officially 'Audi Cuyahoga Falls' (not 'Audi of Cuyahoga Falls')." Primm said a tag line will always follow the new name stating it is a member of the Cascade Auto Group.
Primm said his family has invested too much time and money to completely scrap the Cascade name. The business was founded by Pat's father, Don, who is retired now. Pat, who is a partner in the company, works with his sister Michelle, the managing partner, and brother Mike, the service manager. Pat doesn't want the public to think he and his siblings are no longer involved in the Audi dealership.
"We want to assure them we're here to stay," Pat said. "That's why we made this investment in Cuyahoga Falls. We're still here with the same great team of employees. It's just a new building with a new name."
Primm said Cascade has 83 employees working in its three divisions: Subaru, Mazda and Audi. And he is looking to hire more people to fill openings in sales and technology. "It's nice to grow and provide more jobs to the area," he said.
As far as the old building goes, Primm said that will be converted into a museum primarily focused on the four brands that merged to become Audi AG. In addition to autos and memorabilia dedicated to the "four rings," Audi, DKW, Herch and Wanderer, Porsche, Volkswagen and Ford will be represented.
"Will it be as cool as what Clifford Funeral Home has down on Front Street?" asked Primm. "Maybe, maybe not. But we'll have some cars and a cool area to show off for people to walk through while they're waiting on their cars."