Fun -- and profit -- in the sun
Bob Kinney cut energy costs at Capitol Honda in California by installing solar panels on the roofIf customers who get great deals at Capitol Honda in San Jose, Calif., glance skyward, put their hands together and mouth the words "thank you," they are aiming their gratitude in the right direction. Divine intervention in the form of sunshine is allowing the dealership a bit more flexibility in its pricing than its competitors.
Mark of quality
Jack Fitzgerald's stores earned ISO 9001 certification. But it took workAs an advertising slogan, it's not going to win awards. But Jack Fitzgerald's ability to say "My dealerships are certified to ISO 9001" could be one of the most important pitches he has ever made to potential customers.
Speaking the language
Randall Noe wanted to make Hispanic customers comfortable. So he opened a bilingual unitRandall Noe always found a way to do business with his Hispanic customers who speak little or no English. But three years ago, the Dallas-area dealer decided it was time to go after the Hispanic market big time and in Spanish.
Q&A: 'It's a learning process'
Randall Noe created a business unit to cater to Hispanic customers because making them feel comfortable was good for business and the right thing to do, he says. Noe spoke with Staff Reporter Arlena Sawyers about what it takes to prosper.
Forget soap operas and talk shows in the customer lounge. Superior Lexus puts its technicians on TVSuperior Lexus, owned by the Hendrick Automotive Group of Charlotte, N.C., is a leader in the trend toward customer-friendly service departments. Gone is the grease-monkey image of oil-spattered floors and grimy mechanics. Now they're on TV.
Movin' the metal
Greg Rietz sold 737 cars last year. Here's how he did itSalesman Greg Rietz isn't a sophisticated guy. He refuses to hire an administrative assistant. And he uses a primitive method to track his sales and set annual goals. Still, Rietz, 38, is the kind of supersalesman who would be the subject of an organizational self-help book.
Q&A: 'I have fun at my job'
Greg Rietz developed an organizational system that enabled him to sell 737 vehicles in 2003. He spoke about it with Staff Reporter Jason Stein.
Timing is everything
Jay Alosa's DealerAlert software tells dealers about problems before they occurJay Alosa, a third-generation retailer who runs the Freightliner truck operations of his family's New Hampshire auto chain, was fuming about a slow-paying customer four years ago when inspiration struck.
Q&A: Even computerphobes catch on
New Hampshire dealer Jay Alosa created an alarm system that notifies him by e-mail when mistakes or missed opportunities are about to occur. He now markets it to other dealers.
Greg Ens says his annual road rallies strengthen customer relationsWant to go for a ride? That's what Honda dealer Greg Ens asked the 158 people who had bought or leased new vehicles from his dealership in a year's time.
Oasis in the desert
Bernie Schiappa beat the Las Vegas heat when he moved his inventory inside a swanky new storeThe Las Vegas weather extremes inspired Bernie Schiappa, general manager of Fletcher Jones Imports, to keep 90 percent of his new-vehicle inventory indoors. That gave the dealership an unusual advantage in its market.
Playing it safe
Mitch Roberts cuts work injuries and insurance costs by rewarding employees for taking care on the job Mitch Roberts rewards employees with cash bonuses for safe behavior at his Chevrolet dealership. But the 34 employees of Roberts Chevrolet in Edinburg, Texas, aren't the only ones who benefit. Roberts says his three-year campaign to cut workers' compensation costs is saving money, retaining employees and fostering a safer workplace.
On the air
Lennie Lawson's commercial talk-radio show pulls in listeners - and salesThree customers walk into a Chevrolet showroom in southeastern Tennessee. They want to purchase different types of vehicles with different options. But they have one thing in common: The same ad influenced their visit. The advertising wasn't the traditional radio or TV spot but a commercial talk-radio show.