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Re: what's your dream dealership? (mister_g60)

I'd say the number one, absolute, most important thing that differentiates one dealer from another is the people that work there. I've dealt with or test-driven or gotten work done at a variety of dealerships, from Honda to Jeep to Geo to VW to Saab dealers. And, the biggest difference is the attitude of the people working at the place.
If I call up two VW dealers, and ask for some oddball $5 part they probably aren't making $.02 profit on, and one place tells me they can't help me, but the other place tells me they can have it tomorrow, guess which place I'll be calling when I need something major? Or when I am looking for a new car?
I think the successful dealers know the importance of treating the customer right. I'd be willing to bet that a lot of a dealer's profits come from doing work on customer's cars and parts sales, not from new or used car sales. Heck, Saab dealers will typically sell for their invoice price on new cars, so they aren't making *any* money on sales. But, the Saab dealer I go to (Sportscar Centre on Erie Blvd in Syracuse) has such nice people, that I know several whole families that will be buying cars from them, and having *all* their service done there, for years to come.
So, if you really are thinking about starting a dealership, I hope you've got lots of stong networked connections in the auto industry where you live. That way, you'll be able to hire a competent staff right off the bat.
Another thought - no matter what group you wanna cater to, if you are gonna run a dealership, you'll need to treat Joe Schmoe KnowNothingOffTheStreet well. The common person is gonna be the bulk of your profit. If ya think about it, the vast majority of the public is gonna own a car. Us "car enthusiasts" are probably a very small percentage of the general public, and we're gonna be the types who are gonna shop for the best bargian, and do a lot of work ourselves, so we won't be very profitable anyways.
Profits = Success, and
Happy customers + tight business management = Profits.
-Nate
 

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Re: what's your dream dealership? (SaabFan)

PS - I've thought about owning or managing a car dealership, and I think if I ever did own, it would probably be a small, import-only used place, not a franchised new dealer. Would give you more flexibility, and be easier to establish. Plus, if you tried to get a reputation for having or being able to find "cool" older cars (Corrados, e30 M3's, old Porsches, whatever) then you'd probably become well known enough to be profitable.
-Nate
 
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