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Dealer sees expansion as the key to growth in uncertain times

Asked if a glass was half empty or half full, a comedian once answered: “Neither. You’ve got a glass that’s twice as big as what you need.”

Many dealers probably relate to that pragmatism.

Take hiring, for instance. Dealer Ryan Kolb of Hines Park Lincoln in metro Detroit has hired a few technicians this year. But he has no plans to hire more folks until he sees how sales in the second half shape up.

Likewise, a Minnesota dealer told me he is cautious -- only filling a few sales and service jobs.

Then there’s Bob Kruse, owner of Kruse Motors in Marshall, Minn.

Kruse sells domestic brands. Like the other dealers, he is uncertain about a U.S. economic rebound.

And that is precisely why he’s going on a hiring blitz.

Kruse plans to hire 22 employees within the next few months.

“The economy is slowing down, so we have to work harder,” Kruse says.

His sales are up 10 percent through May compared with the year-ago period. But Kruse says that’s not good enough.

“I have not been aggressive enough. Sales should be higher. We’ve been stale and laid back saying, ‘Let’s see what’s happening,’” Kruse said.

So he’ll increase his marketing spending 30 percent this year. And in addition to adding staff, Kruse is spending more to better train his employees.

It could be said: Kruse sees a glass that’s half empty and he plans to fill it to the top.

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