Sunday was homecoming day for Lexus of Omaha.
The dealership, part of the Performance Automotive Group, returned to its original location after spending 18 months at a temporary sales site. A newly rebuilt dealership at 13025 West Dodge Road opened today at 7 a.m., said Rob Mueting, Lexus of Omaha general manager.
What customers will find at the revamped dealership includes:
» New structures: a larger, 70,0000-square-foot building that contains the showroom, service department and detailing facility, and a new, separate garage.
» An expanded footprint: Performance purchased smaller lots on either side of the old facility, said Mickey Anderson, president of Performance Auto Group.
» A spacious new showroom with floor-to ceiling glass windows and etched-glass partitions and wood panels made from the same renewable wood that is used to trim the interior of some Lexus vehicles. The sunlit showroom can display up to a dozen vehicles. “We're bringing the parking lot inside so you don't have to step out into the snow or wind,” Anderson said.
» Places for customers and families to relax — a TV viewing room with a 90-inch screen television and a seperate lounge area that features a faux fireplace and coffee bar with a full-time barista. There is also a playroom for children and, in a nod to the Japanese automaker, a small bamboo grove.
Performance Auto Group declined to reveal the project's cost.
The energy-efficient building also boasts a “green wall,” covered in more than 350 living plants, a “roof garden” and a showroom-quality “delivery room” where customers can, with the help of staff, become familiar with their new vehicle before driving off into the sunset.
The dealership's sales offices have etched-glass partitions and feature round tables. There are no desks and no doors on the offices so customers don't feel boxed in, Anderson said.
He said sales staff will carry mobile tablets so that they can display a model's features, specification and options on the spot without having to return to an office.
The building also features a one-vehicle turntable.
For now, a Lexus LFA sports car, one of only 500 the automaker manufactured, revolves gently on the turntable, showing off its carbon fiber body. Hidden under its glossy red hood, a 552-horsepower engine that can accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 3.7 seconds and reach a top speed of 205 miles per hour. The car, which is valued at $425,000, is not for sale.
While most moves can be accomplished with boxes, tape and bungee cords, Sunday's relocation involved more than 300 new and used vehicles driven by dealership's employees, everyone from salespeople to office workers, via 120th Street to the frontage road on the south side of Dodge, past Burke High School.
The caravan of cars was scheduled to start at 11 a.m. Sunday. More than 70 people were asked to help drive the inventory.
The original showroom at 132nd and Dodge, was constructed in 1990 when Lexus debuted with only two models, but it grew too small despite a pair of additions.
The Lexus line has expanded to 14 models including SUVs, both large and small. Service bays in the original building were built to accommodate cars. The turning radius of larger vehicles meant extra maneuvering for the service staff.
The new service area, which is located in a separate service garage, is 30 percent larger.
“Back in 1990 when we opened, we only had 12 employees,” Mueting said. “Now we have 92 employees. That just tells you how good Omaha has been to us.”
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Remodeled Omaha auto dealerships
Many auto dealerships in the Omaha area are, or have been, in the process of remodeling, rebuilding or adding new features to make their showrooms look as shiny and new as their latest models. Others are new dealerships. For some, it's their first renovation in decades.
» Atchley Ford, 3633 N. 72nd St. Remodeling showroom, service department and exterior after 38 years. Complete: end of April/early May.
» Village Pointe Toyota, 18201 Cuming St. New showroom, space for 550 new cars, replaces the former Old Mill Toyota dealership. Owned by Van Tuyl Group. Completed.
» Performance Toyota of La Vista, 7204 S. 124th Circle. Showroom remodeled and expanded, updated service bays and drive-through car wash. Completed.
» Fiat of Omaha, 17755 Burt St. Performance Automotive Group added Fiat to its portfolio and constructed new 4,200-square-foot showroom and offices. Open
» Nissan of Omaha, 17410 Burt St. Constructed new 50,000-square-foot facility designed to LEED energy-saving standards. Completed.
» Mercedes-Benz of Omaha, 14335 Hillsdale Ave. Showroom updated. Completed.
» Performance Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram of Bellevue, 7713 South 19th Circle. New dealership constructed. Open.
» Gorges Volvo, 17665 Burt St. Expansion added 3,500 square feet to the building that houses its pre-owned operations and an acre of lot space to the west. Completed.
» Woodhouse Nissan, 7801 Nebraska Drive, Bellevue. New dealership. Open.
» Beardmore Chevrolet Subaru, 418 Fort Crook Rd. N. Bellevue. Subaru service area added floor space. Chevrolet dealership building underwent extensive renovation for the first time since 1990; $2.5 million project. Completed.
» Baxter Ford, 17950 Burt St. New dealership replaced Performance Ford at 119th Street and West Dodge Road. Existing building renovated and expanded. Completed.