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Posted in Automotive
3rd February 2023
Whilst new vehicle registrations took a dip last year, there are exciting signs of recovery for the UK car market with a strong second half in 2022, record sales of electric models and new market entrants making inroads with consumers.
Despite a perceived increase in demand for an end-to-end ‘online’ car purchase process by some customers, it’s exciting to see so much continued investment in automotive dealerships and other retail units, as a sign that customers still value physical, face-to-face interactions when buying a new or used car.
Scanning the industry news feed, we read about new branding for manufacturers and dealer groups, retail identity launches, refreshes and roll-outs, and even the new digitally-focused disruptors are including physical facilities for handover and servicing within their representation strategies.
Based in Oxfordshire, the heart of the British motor industry and home to Formula 1, it is no wonder that we have longstanding links and extensive experience with the automotive industry. Over the years we have supplied showroom and workshop tiles to some 15 manufacturer brands and their networks, plus a range of motorcycle, collector and tuning specialists, as well as garaging solutions for private individuals.
The history of Minoli and garages for the motor industry goes back beyond the incorporation of Minoli & Co in 1960, to the time when Minoli was predominantly working with terrazzo in and around London and the southeast. Things have moved on a lot since then and technological advancements in the production of the latest porcelain tiles have seen the emergence of new ranges that can bear greater loads, are more resistant to chemicals, have improved anti-slip properties and excellent colour stability over time.
Today we are focusing on our recent partnerships with leading marques, as we support them in ensuring consistency of corporate identity throughout their retail environments. In carefully defining bespoke showroom and workshop specifications, we help network development teams deliver distinct and brand-specific schemes across widespread geographic regions, whether refurbishments or new-build facilities, throughout the UK or pan-European.
New clients of note include Lotus whose iconic models, such as the Lotus Elise, Exige and Evora, have underpinned the company’s ambition to deliver a distinctly different and dynamic driving experience. Their most recent launches that set new standards in innovation and achievement include the Emira – which will be the last petrol-powered car from the Lotus stable, the Evija hypercar – first electric Lotus and the most powerful production car in the world, and the Eletre SUV – the most technically advanced Lotus in the history of the brand.
As the brand has recently reinvented itself and its entire product range, so their retail network and corporate identity has also been entirely renewed with a striking visual language and state of the art facilities in which to showcase their latest stunning line-up of performance cars. The tile chosen for the latest retail specification is the Minoli BST Boost Grey 60/60 in rectified porcelain for showrooms and customer facing areas. Installations have included the product display areas at Lotus’s production plant in Hethel, Norfolk and at the Bell & Colvill Retail Centre in Horsley, Surrey, which is one of the longest established Lotus dealerships. We look forward to supplying further sites as the extensive global brand identity programme continues to progress.
Another new client from the sector is Mercedes-Benz. As part of a £1million investment programme, selected ranges from Minoli’s porcelain tile collections have been specified in the extensive refurbishment of Vertu’s state-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz Slough dealership. Vertu Motors is part of one of the UK’s largest motor retailer groups, Vertu Motors plc, and operates Mercedes-Benz dealerships in Ascot, Reading, Slough, Aylesbury and Beaconsfield.
For this particular project, Minoli were delighted to provide three particular ranges: Graphite-Grey 60/120 floor tile in Stone-effect for showroom areas, ETC Series 22.5/90 floor tile in wood-effect for customer and hospitality areas, and Lagoona Series 30/60 wall tile for customer restrooms. We wish the team at Vertu every success in continuing to provide an outstanding customer experience in this stunning refurbished facility.
An example of our work in the UK and beyond is our relationship with Kia Europe. Minoli have been involved with Kia since the very start of their operation in the UK some 25 years ago and have helped deploy a corporate identity across the network that reflects the brand’s forward-thinking and innovative values with consistency and quality. Proving a worthy partner in this territory, our remit has now expanded and we’re delivering direct for new build and refurbishment projects in throughout Europe, including sites in France, Italy and Belgium.
The workshop and showroom tiles of Kia’s dealerships reflect the reliability, solidity and dependability of their brand, products and service ethos and include the stone-effect Minoli GMS Pearl Matt 60/60 and the wood-look ERV Rovere Matt 22.5/90, which are installed throughout the showroom and customer facing areas.
Another manufacturing super-group who has specified Minoli’s porcelain products is Stellantis, the multinational automotive manufacturing corporation formed in 2021. Brands in their sizeable stable that we work with include Fiat, Abarth, Chrysler, Jeep, Alfa Romeo, Citroën, DS Automobiles, Peugeot and Vauxhall (plus Lancia, Ram, Dodge and Maserati that are outside our current remit).
Minoli have partnered with some of these brands for a well over 20 years, but we were particularly delighted in 2022 to supply the Motorvogue Group for the UK’s first dual-brand Stellantis showroom facility, at their new state-of-the-art dealership at Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk. As one of the fastest growing independent motor groups in the UK, this stunning Motorvogue facility includes a 450 m2 showroom, with Minoli’s Fjord Grey 60/60 Italian rectified porcelain floor tiles installed throughout.
One of our longest-standing supplier relationships is with Renault, and the Dacia and Alpine brands in their family. So close are our ties that Minoli’s Business Development Manager started his career with Renault UK. Minoli have worked with the Dealer Development and Facility Management teams on several important Corporate Identity programs and roll outs, to ensure that the Renault brand standard is adhered to and upheld by dealers, architects and contractors. The latest showroom and workshop specifications include the RSN 45, a charcoal-grey porcelain tile in a slightly smaller 45/45 format, and the Minoli workshop series in Serizzo Grey. Our relationship with Renault dates back to the late 1980s.
Many of these remarkable client relationships have been born out of our long-term partnership with experience, design and architecture experts, such as Meda International – a specialist retail design consultancy based near Abingdon in Oxfordshire. One such 25-year tenure is with Lexus, whose brand identity is one of the most consistent in the world, with tiling being a highly visible part of the overall design concept.
The Minoli LX Iconic Nero 60/60 matt and polished tiles, used throughout the showrooms, is complimented by an entire range of additional finishes for each area within the Lexus facility. Minoli arrange for the special production of the materials required and instigate the delivery of complete dealership ‘packages’ to contractors, architects or direct to dealers throughout Europe.
Last, but by no means least, through their latest retail visual identity, Volvo is seeking to strongly emphasise their Scandinavian heritage, to strengthen the brand name and their image as a premium manufacturer focusing on safety, innovation and advanced mobility solutions. Now an established client in our automotive brand portfolio, Volvo Cars UK specify the Minoli stone-effect C-Stone 75/75 and ETV wood-look for the showroom, consultation and hospitality areas.
Minoli’s has a specialist automotive team headed up by Managing Director, Jonathon Minoli, who would be delighted to explore how we may be of service to new clients in the sector. Please contact him directly by email to firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a time to discuss suitable ranges and specifications for showroom, workshop and customer hospitality areas.
”From our roots in Terrazzo production – to the supply of high grade Italian Porcelain, Minoli have worked with the Automotive industry for well over 60 years.” Jonathon Minoli