The landmark Audi Centre in Sydney is the largest Audi sales, service and lifestyle dealership in the world today.
Built to satisfy Australia's growing love affair with Audi cars, it incorporates new vehicle displays, sales, service, spare parts and a unique café catering to workers in the adjoining Green Square commercial, retail and residential precinct.
Just like Audi cars, which are built with style, performance and strength, the Audi Centre was also built as a reflection of these core brand values.
It was not surprising therefore, that when Audi needed to address the handling of hundreds of thousands of spare parts and accessories for their ever- increasing range, they selected a lift truck manufacturer which shared the same values: Crown.
Although the sales and management floors at the five-storey Audi Centre Sydney exude a sense of calm, it's still business as usual when it comes to receiving, racking and retrieving spare parts and accessories.
Above street level in the retail space, the Audi Centre Sydney is spacious and airy. Below ground level, in the engine room of the centre, it is a somewhat different story.
Spare parts and accessories are unloaded from trucks and are then required to be moved through the carpark to a loading dock entrance that is not dissimilar to a residential double-garage door. Height is an issue here, so whatever lift truck Audi selected had to have a low collapsed height so it could fit into the spare parts receiving dock entrance.
For its Sydney Centre, Audi selected the Crown SHR 5500 walkie reach stacker.
According to George Hicks, the Audi service manager, the company was looking for a total package; performance, reliability, features and price.
"We ended up getting the lot. The low collapsed height of the truck meant no hassles with our delivery dock configuration. It is an extremely robust unit, is user-friendly and it came in at the right price," Hicks said.
The SHR 5500's AC traction system together with a heavy-duty mast and pantograph reach mechanism work effectively to deliver more efficient load handling and positioning.
Key features include power steering, a compact size due to its retractable reach mechanism, a brake override feature that enables slow-speed travel with the handle in a near- vertical position for working in extremely confined spaces all combining to make handling easy for operators regardless of the load being moved.
On being selected by Audi, Craig Kenchington, general manager marketing at Crown said.
"The heavy-duty SHR 5500 reach stacker is ideal for situations where there are restrictions on space, different pallet sizes needing to be moved, or where pallets are difficult to reach. Its pantograph reach mechanism allows the truck to be used like a counterbalanced truck, but with the turning circle of a much smaller reach truck.
"Within its confined space, Audi is actually able to unload an entire truck from just one side, using the reach box to extend across the back of the truck," he explained.
The SHR 5500 is also equipped with Crown's state-of-the-art Access 1 2 3 control and diagnostics system.
Built-in diagnostics eliminate the need for a handset or laptop when service is required. Access 1 2 3 technology is complemented by the InfoPoint™ System, which follows a logical, easy- to-understand troubleshooting process for faster, simpler and higher-quality service.
According to Crown, Audi also selected them to service and maintain their SHR 5500.
"It was not surprising that a company such as Audi, which places significance on the importance of quality service and genuine spare parts, should have extended their relationship with Crown to also include full servicing of their vehicle," said Kenchington.
"This really was the ideal truck for a company such as Audi that is known for road and off-road, vehicles of superior design, manufacture, reliability, equipment levels and technological advancements," he concluded.