Thirty-seven years ago, Biill McDaniels began stitching together an automotive group in Columbia and Charleston, taking time to upgrade and modernize automotive buildings along the way.
The dealership owner is now working on his 11th transition, the Audi of Charleston building on Savannah Highway, and not in a sidelight way. McDaniels serves as general contractor on all his automotive rebuilds, which he believes to be unprecedented. “Through my career as a builder, I separate myself from all car dealers,” he said.
The Columbia area businessman keeps up his involvement with the latest project, kicked off in early summer and scheduled to be finished by fall. He bought the West Ashley site in 2004 and set up side-by-side Acura and Audi dealerships. In the past year, plans emerged for the 13-year-old Audi building to be mostly torn down, replaced by a structure with more glass and a newer distinctive look. The replacement will display an ultra-chic showroom, broadened service center and conveniently situated parts department.
What stands out most, however, are McDaniels’ bold steps at the Audi dealership to install machinery that curbs energy costs and makes the service area more convenient for customers getting their Q7s, TTs and A5s tuned up.
New features include:
- Installing a “clean burn” system in the service shop. “We take oil out of your car and burn it in the winter time,” McDaniels said. The recycling arrangement finds a use for engine oil while lowering the power bill. “The cost of one year (recycling oil) pays for the heaters,” he said.
- Employing energy-efficient materials such as 2-by-9-foot metal studs, heavy-duty insulation in and out and long lasting light-emitting diode (LED) lighting throughout the cavernous shop. “When you are talking about energy savings, they pay for themselves,” McDaniels noted.
- Extra thick tile floors…