New Zealand's top motor vehicle dealership the Giltrap Group has new $40 million New Zealand headquarters and an executive said the business was "blown away" by the new building.

Michael Giltrap, group joint managing director with his brother Richard, said Warren and Mahoney's design of the new Auckland building, 119 GNR, was way beyond what they had ever anticipated.

Showrooms for vehicles are like jewellery boxes. Photo/Simon Devitt
Showrooms for vehicles are like jewellery boxes. Photo/Simon Devitt

"We had high expectations but we're blown away by it. It's a great place for customers," Giltrap said from the foyer of the building on Great North Rd in Newton.

"Warren and Mahoney have produced a design which perfectly showcases some of the world's most beautiful cars. At the same time, it is the most technologically impressive and environmentally friendly building of its type in the country," Giltrap said, referring to 119 GNR's 5-star Green Star design rating.

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Jonathan Hewlett, who led the Warren and Mahoney team, said the building aimed to create jewellery boxes to showcase the three top brands which are sold from there: Aston Martin, Bentley and Lamborghini.

"The showroom was conceived as three jewellery boxes with glazing that wraps around on the sides," Hewlett said.

Giltrap Group has significant land holdings on both sides of Great North Rd near the Ponsonby Rd intersection, due to the foresight of founder Sir Colin Giltrap. The new 119 GNR is named after its eponymous Great North Rd address.

Warren and Mahoney designed the building.
Warren and Mahoney designed the building.

Michael Giltrap said land ownership was a big bonus to the business which sells New Zealand's top luxury car brands.

Ramps designed for vehicles 6cm from the ground.
Ramps designed for vehicles 6cm from the ground.

"We sort of always thought where possible we will own the land. It just so happens the car business has helped pay the rent. When you are developing big dealerships like this, you want to own the land. A lot of the cars are bespoke so you have to the bespoke experience."

The nine-level building has five levels above ground.

119 GNR refers to the address at 119 Great North Rd, Newton. Photo/Simon Devitt
119 GNR refers to the address at 119 Great North Rd, Newton. Photo/Simon Devitt

Richard and Michael's father, Sir Colin Giltrap, appeared on this year's NBR Rich List estimated to have a $360m fortune.

Hewlett said each floor was 1500sq m and the top two levels are empty, available for lease.

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Lamborghini, Bentley and Aston Martin dealerships are in the new building. Photo/Simon Devitt
Lamborghini, Bentley and Aston Martin dealerships are in the new building. Photo/Simon Devitt

Ramps have been built to drive cars between floors. These were specially designed for the high-performance vehicles which can be as low as just 6cm above the ground.

The showroom features three of the world's top car brands.
The showroom features three of the world's top car brands.

"That creates an internal street," Hewlett said, telling how design resolved issues around the very low height clearance of the cars and the practical length of the site to provide adequate vertical ramp transitions.

The Bentley showroom in the new premises.
The Bentley showroom in the new premises.

"To address this, we devised a curved ramp, set out to align with a sine wave curve, to connect each floor," Hewlett said.

A hand-over room, accessed off Great North Rd, allows the business to 'park' a new vehicle in a glass-fronted showroom room with lounge furniture, meet the customer there to hand over the car, then for the customer to drive directly out of the showroom onto the street.

Architect Jonathan Hewlett.
Architect Jonathan Hewlett.

Hewlett worked with lighting experts Targetti to develop the showroom lights, power, data and sprinkler systems.

Underground workshops have 11 service bays, viewable from a level above so customers can see technicians at work on their vehicles. Pits are not on the scene, instead technicians use hoists.

Technicians at work below a meeting room.
Technicians at work below a meeting room.

Data from the Motor Industry Association showed luxury car sales remaining at high levels during the last four years. For example, New Zealand sales of Audi, BMW, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz jumped from 6327 in 2013 to 7349 in 2015, were 7333 in 2015, 7842 last year and already 7415 of these makes had been sold here by August.

This year, there have been 7599 new registrations of Audi, Bentley, BMW, Ferrari, Infiniti, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Land Rover, Lexus, Maserati, McLaren, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Rolls-Royce and Volvo vehicles in New Zealand, compared to 10,132 of these sold last year, association data showed.