Back in 2008, Jared Hardin noticed a long line of customers in his tiny Garden Grove, California Hyundai dealership. Hardin was happy about the volume of customers in his showroom but concerned that the line had formed for his dealership’s single, unisex restroom. It was time for a new, larger showroom.
Hardin says that in addition to being small and “run-down”, his old dealership was located in a bad area of town.
Hyundai Motor America sales chief Dave Zuchowski says Hardin’s problem was far from unique. With Hyundai now enjoying double-digit sales increases, Zuchowski says focusing on improving sales processes and dealer images has become the Korean automaker’s No. 1 priority.
Zuchowski says, “We have the product and brand under control. Now we have to clean up our dealerships and give our customers the first-class treatment they deserve.”
He says Hyundai’s approach will not be to pour tons of money into refurbishing existing, subpar facilities. Rather, dealers are encouraged to acquire larger, newer stores in desirable locations that have been abandoned by other brands.
Today, Jared Hardin’s new dealership is located in a motor mall about a mile or two from his old store. In addition to the Hyundai dealership, the mall includes a Chevrolet, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen dealership. The new location sits alongside a freeway which provides higher visibility and easier access than the old location, and being situated alongside other high-profile auto dealers has boosted foot traffic in his store.
In comparison with the old store, with its single-car showroom and single unisex restroom, Hardin’s new dealership has a four-car showroom and separate bathrooms for his male and female customers. Since the move, Hardin says his annual sales have grown from about 800 to 1,200 vehicles. The move cost Hardin less than $10 million and assistance from Hyundai helped defray his costs.
Foot traffic at the new dealership has increased to between 10 and 15 customers daily. Hardin says he typically saw about two or three customers per day in his old showroom. Hardin’s service business has increased by about 40% since making the move. He says he plans to add a new sales area dedicated to the premium Equus sedan which is scheduled to launch in the U.S. this fall.
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