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A History with the Jones - A proud fixture in the Landscape of Maple Ridge & Pitt Meadows

November 28, 2013
A History with the Jones - A proud fixture in the Landscape of Maple Ridge & Pitt Meadows
By Scott Jones Michelle Jones-Ruppel
A proud fixture in the Landscape of Maple Ridge & Pitt Meadows - A History of the Jones as recently seen in the local Outlook Magazine Currently, the five dealerships sell over 5,000 new and used vehicles a year while 200 employees work within the group. Results are based on long-term marketing and brand building. "It's good to be diversified with different brands. That's all part of it," Scott says.
"We're very aggressive in our marketing, not only tactical which is pricing and payments, but also with brand and image building."
"We've concentrated quite a bit on building the West Coast Auto Group image. We've been doing that for a long time and built ourselves up on that name over time," Scott says. By combining administration and finance centres through group ownership, costs can be cut and economies of scale achieved.
"Most definitely, that is the trend," says Scott. "There are fewer and fewer stand-alone operators and more and more groups taking over."
That might seem to reduce competition, but Scott says sales managers within the same group compete for each sale while for the final reality check, there are at least 10 separately owned dealerships for each make in the Lower Mainland. "It's good when you have more than one type of vehicle. I call
it friendly competition."
"It's very tough competing in this day and age with this business climate that we're in right now." The Internet's also changed how the auto business works. No longer do shoppers rely on a car salesman to explain the features.
While most car shoppers still want to test drive a new vehicle, many do all of their homework first online, accomplishing about 80 to 90 per cent of the buying process, Scott says. "That's becoming more and more important daily. So many consumers shop online now."
Michelle Jones-Ruppel, who runs the Ford Lincoln and Nissan stores, agrees - the Internet has changed the car business, "with the amount of knowledge our customers can get, which I'm not opposed to."
Customers are more prepared when they walk into a dealership. But that means the dealership and sales staff have to be better, she points out. The cyclical nature of the business means if sales of one manufacturer cools, the other picks up As manager, she realizes staff are the priority. "So you build
yourself a strong team, strong managers, surround yourself with good people."
"You tend to grow your business, customer retention and customer loyalty are a lot stronger."
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