It takes money to go green.
At Thoroughbred Ford in Kansas City, Mo., about 500 incandescent lights above the lot are being replaced with expensive, commercial-grade LED bulbs at a cost of more than $100,000.
E-Commerce Director George O'Sullivan cites the new bulbs as the most prominent of Thoroughbred's efforts to green up the way it does business.
Other green initiatives include:
- Moving transactions from paper to electronic. O'Sullivan says the amount of paper generated by new-car transactions is being reduced by two-thirds. On a new-car sale, one paper copy of the buyer's order is made and handed to the customer. Then, it's scanned into the store's computer system.
"We're probably using about half the paper we were 15 months ago" overall at the dealership, said O' Sullivan.
- Collecting old motor oil year round to fuel the service department's heating system in the winter. That part of the store is notoriously hard to keep warm because the garage doors are constantly opening.
- Becoming the highest-volume Ford dealer in its market area in hybrids and electrics. When Ford launched its Fusion and C-Max hybrids and the Focus electric, Thoroughbred made them visible in the community by putting salespeople and their families in them.
"They are not the easiest sell in the Midwest, especially to highway drivers," O'Sullivan said. "As hybrid technology has improved, that has made it much easier. We took it very seriously and started pushing them." The store offers a free public charging station, which is used by customers and employees of local businesses, said O'Sullivan.
- Protecting the ground from toxic chemicals. Thoroughbred stores caustic materials in double-walled containers kept in secure areas.
The dealership sells about 250 new and used vehicles combined per month.