Germany's 'Auto Mile' woos buyers with 29 brands

Dealerships find home among clubs, offices and retail stores

Frankfurt. Anyone in the Rhine-Main area who wants to buy a car will have a hard time getting past Germany's Auto Mile.

On the Hanau highway, 22 dealerships offer a total of 29 brands, from Audi to Volvo.

"No other road in the country has more brands," said Ralph Haerth, spokesperson for IGH, the Hanau highway dealership community.

Haerth had the name "Germany's Auto Mile" trademarked in February 2000. Last year nearly 50,000 new and used vehicles were sold here, and the dealerships employ more than 1,400 workers.

But its potential still isn't fully realized. A good many brands, such as BMW, are planning renovations and expansions.

Toyota Nix wants to move its Lexus showroom from its third floor to a separate building next door.

"Some new facilities are also expected," Haerth said. Even prices of 1,300 euros per square meter aren't scaring off interested parties, such as Suzuki.

In April a renovated Porsche center opened its doors. In January, Honda Fugel launched its 4,000-square-meter operation nearby. Even TUEV Hessen has an office here.

The Hanauer, as Frankfurt residents call it, is one of the busiest traffic routes east of Frankfurt. An average of 50,000 vehicles pass the 6.8-kilometer stretch (4.2 miles) every day. In addition, there is the tram system, which takes up two of the four lanes.

"It's no Champs-Elysées, yet our Auto Mile still invites a stroll," said Haerth.

It's also well situated at the edge of the city, with a connector to the autobahn and a 15-minute drive from the airport.

The road already had its name in 1846. Today it offers a mixture of the most modern architecture and derelict industrial buildings, designer outlets and office furniture stores, butcher shops and clubs like King Kamehameha, the Sansibar Lounge, or Goldfish, which is on the roof of the BMW branch office.

"Music is played here," said BMW branch manager Philip von Sahr. On Friday and Saturday, thousands of partiers move along the street.

In five years at the latest, there may well be even more pedestrian traffic to calculate during the day. That's when Europe's central bank and 2,900 employees take possession of a 180-meter- tall office tower on the Hanauer.

The IGH, which Alexander von Gizycki and investors Michael Loulakis and Ardi Goldman founded in autumn 1995, celebrates its 10-year anniversary on September 18, the second public day of the Frankfurt auto show, with a Sunday selling day.

Tags: Retail

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