As coffee shops, plasma televisions and internet access in stylish waiting rooms start to become common in car dealerships, a new Mazda and Skoda outlet in Cheshire has come up with a novel idea - canal boat rides.

The Mitchell Group has built a £2.5 million complex, creating over 50 new jobs in the local area, with a 16-car showroom, 20 bay workshop and a first floor lounge for customers.

The £40,000 lounge has views into the showroom, workshop and beyond across the Cheshire countryside and is equipped with plasma screens, an internet café and complimentary refreshments managed by the full-time centre host team.

So far, so expected.

But the dealership also owns 200 metres of Shropshire Union canal frontage, and is close to purchasing a 25-foot Mazda-branded narrow boat to provide relaxing trips - average speed 4mph - for customers while their vehicles are serviced.

Owner Mark Mitchell claims his dealerships are already well-known for unique customer relationship marketing.

"Mitchell Group has long-since recognised that selling cars is about people and an engaging experience," he said.

"We have always offered unique customer services whether that is a "wash and go" car washing service every Saturday for life, or a "drop-off and collect" shopping trip to [nearby factory outlet mall] Cheshire Oaks while we service the car."

The new complex opens on 23 August and is part of a £6 million project which includes the company's existing Lexus centre next door.

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