The common thread that runs under everything Motorcars does is, as its motto puts it, its desire to create “customers for life.” The company knows it’s going to be competitive on price, Gile said, but the “difference-makers” are the amenities it can offer. Motorcars Cleveland is a family-run business, comprised mainly of the Honda dealership, a Toyota dealership and a body shop, all in Cleveland Heights; a service center in downtown Cleveland; and two Rainforest car washes — one in Cleveland Heights and one in Brunswick. The dealerships, which are across the road from one another, typically have 150 to 200 used cars on the grounds at any time, plus about 250 to 300 new Honda vehicles and 200 to 250 Toyota vehicles, Gile said.
As part of the in-process expansion, Motorcars Honda also is installing a digital assembly line that could speed up services like oil changes and tire rotations. The line will include what looks like two electric walkways that pull the vehicle through six stops, Gile said. At each stop, the vehicle can be lifted up for work, while customers can follow along through TV screens. There will be multiple service options at each stop. Gile said the company always has taken the approach that “service is what makes us successful.”
Other planned updates for Motorcars Honda include a children’s play area and a lounge for customers with fireplaces and a patio. The upgrades began in November and should be completed in September or October. The solar panels, which will also serve as a roof for a 95-vehicle showroom, should be installed by the end of April or beginning of May, Gile said.
With the dealership’s proximity to multiple medical centers, Motorcars also thought it was a good idea to partner with AMS Vans Inc. and Mobility Ventures LLC to provide cost-competitive mobility devices with wheelchair access. The partnership, called Motorcars Mobility, offers new or pre-owned vehicles, as well as services for the wheelchair accessible vehicles. That business began less than six months ago, though Motorcars plans to move the store after renovating a new facility for it, Gile said.
Seeing the light
The solar panel installation is inspiring the dealership to take more green steps, Gile said. The dealership is in the process of switching all of its lighting to LEDs, and it will even offer bicycles as an alternative to rental cars, starting this spring.
This commitment to being environmentally sustainable isn’t just a focus locally.
Since 2012, Honda Motor Co. has had a national “Green Dealer” program, which encourages dealerships to make measurable reductions in outputs like energy usage and awards those that do, like Jack Matia Honda in Elyria. Honda’s main motivation behind the program was its commitment to reducing CO2 emissions, said Raminta Jautokas, Honda environmental leadership program manager. When looking for a resource to share with the dealerships, Jautokas said the company came up empty-handed.
“Dealerships are really unique environments,” she said, noting that they range from service shops to showrooms.
So, the company created its own guide, which it released last year. The guide is available to Honda dealerships, but the company has also made it publicly available on its website. The company developed the guide because it saw a need, said Matt Sloustcher, assistant manager for corporate affairs and communications, and found the societal benefits of sharing it far outweighed the competitive advantage.