With the industry recovery still in slow-motion, many hard-charging dealers turned to new brands such as Fiat or looked for creative ways to win customers and keep them.
Brett David was just 19 when he took over Prestige Motors of Miami in 2007 after his father, the dealer, died unexpectedly. Brett ignored recommendations that he sell the store and instead enlarged the business. When Automotive News profiled him last May, Prestige Motors was the top-selling Audi dealer in the United States.
O'Brien Fiat's indoor Fiat Studio at the Greenwood Park Mall, in Greenwood, Ind., was one of the Italian brand's first U.S. dealerships to open this year. Owner Tom Miller, right, spent $300,000 to set up a 2,200-square-foot showroom, which has space for four Fiat 500s.
Chrysler called its Motor Village LA dealership in downtown Los Angeles -- which handles all Chrysler brands plus Fiat -- a test bed for retail techniques. But Chrysler will pay as much as $955,000 in fines after the California Department of Motor Vehicles ruled that the store was operated improperly as a factory-owned dealership. Chrysler has sold the store to New Century Automotive Group, owned by Dennis Lin of Los Angeles.
The buzz at Auto West BMW in suburban Vancouver, British Columbia, has nothing to do with the new BMW 3 series. The dealership is home to approximately 100,000 honeybees that live in three hives in the 62,000-square-foot store's rooftop garden.
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