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Annapolis Subaru: Auto Dealerships Paradox

Some bemoan that the retail auto business is increasingly difficult, yet one local dealer consistently serves customers from throughout the United States - Subaru Annapolis, reported the Examiner.

While other auto dealerships complain about sales doldrums, one retail business is singing a different tune. Amid tight competition and rising gasoline prices, the Subaru dealership is still booming. What is the secret behind?

Annapolis Subaru General Sales Manager Chris Kelly shared some of the tidbits and philosophies that have pushed the continuous growth of the dealership and earned it high customer satisfaction ratings.

Asked sets Annapolis Subaru apart from its competitors, Kelly has this to say: "It's interesting you should ask that because I was just discussing that with the staff. The only thing that sets us apart is how we treat our customers. We take great pride in the no-pressure environment at our dealership."

How does the dealership maintain a no-pressure sales environment? "That is where our staff comes in. Historically, we have not hired car salespeople. We hire good people and we train them in our way of doing business. I did recently hire two people who had previously worked at car dealerships. That is more the exception than the rule," Kelly said.

"A Subaru has a lot of unique characteristics. It is the only manufacturer where every single model they build has highest safety rating," he added. "Every Subaru also has the 'Boxer Engine' design which provides a very low center of gravity, and hence the exceptional handling characteristic. The reliability is also very high. Consumer Reports and other agencies consistently rank Subaru, Honda and Toyota as among the most reliable."

The dealership has established a good following because it does not only ensure the quality of the Subaru brake caliper but the vehicle's entirety. The service is not limited to quality, the dealership believes, a business should create an atmosphere of friendliness and reliability to keep customers coming.

"We actually reach out well beyond that to the surrounding areas and beyond. We sell cars even to those in the western states," Kelly noted. "We have customers in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, the Carolinas and Florida. Even on Caribbean Islands and Canada."

Basically, the thing about the dealership is viral marketing. And the best channel is no less than word of mouth. "People who buy Subarus are very particular about their cars. They understand when a dealer speaks their language and will honestly answer their questions. We appreciate their knowledge and we cater to those customers," said Kelly.

"You'll see in our scores that we have some of the highest customer satisfaction scores possible. That's because we really listen to our customers and treat them with respect. The Web has also been a significant factor in enabling us to expand beyond our local market," Kelly concluded.

Viral marketing has contributed to the dealership's exponential growth. Despite the surrounding dilemmas in the auto industry, Subaru Annapolis could not help but grow.... and grow some more.

Subaru, meanwhile, is a Japanese automaker and a division of Fuji Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. The name originated from the Japanese language meaning "unite". It is also the term for the constellation known in the west as the Pleiades. The current Subaru emblem, however, symbolizes the present company structure to deviate from the original star cluster image; it was known in the past.

While smaller than many of its rivals in the industry, Subaru has been a highly lucrative company for many years. It is famed for the production of traditional-bodied cars with full-time AWD as well as the exceptional boxer engines.

About The Author Anthony Fontanelle is a 35-year-old automotive buff who grew up in the Windy City. He does freelance work for an automotive magazine when he is not busy customizing cars in his shop.
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