A biased but honest testimonial…

When my husband and I walk into a party, it usually goes well until we tell people what we do for a living: Brion’s a car dealer, and I am a lawyer. Immediately the room clears. It is hard to change people’s perception of the “sleazy” car dealer, but Brion and Art have been doing just that—one customer at a time—for over thirty years.

Integrity is not a word often used to describe a car salesman, but Art Stapp is a living definition of the term. Never have I met a person so genuinely concerned with the well-being of others. Art carries that quality through the doors of Interstate Toyota everyday. He refuses to up sell or to put a customer into a vehicle they cannot afford. He has actually counseled people to not purchase a car because they simply cannot afford one. Shocking, I know, but true.

And then there is Brion. Now of course, I am biased being his wife. But, I am from a loud out-spoken Irish family. If Brion had a flaw, I would be the first one to call him on it. But, when it comes to how he runs his business and how he treats his women customers, in particular, I could not be more proud. He respects and values a customer’s need to “talk through” her decision without being pressured to close the deal. Being a parent, he knows how hard it is to think clearly about such a major purchase when your child is coloring on the wall or hungry. You will see when walking around the dealership that it is precisely this type of customer Brion had in mind when designing the new facility. From family bathrooms to kid corrals, Brion has made the dealership as family friendly as possible. Just another example of how Brion shatters the stereotype of the “sleazy” dealer everyday.

Liz Stapp

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So you say you’re different….

It is easy to say you are different but how do you prove it?  Your actions! Since 1974 our family has believed buying & selling cars can and more importantly should be fun & easy.  When a customer visits Stapp Interstate Toyota – Scion we really do try everything in our power to make them feel welcome as guests.  I can’t figure out why other dealers choose to do business any other way, but as you know, A LOT do.  On of my favorite things about being at our dealership everyday is hearing the stories from our customers who had been somewhere else first.  Funny thing is….it is very easy to be nice, honest & fair.  I wish I could say we had a magic formula that we discovered from years of trying different things, but all we do is treat our customers as valued friends. For over 30 years we’ve made the buying process different by stepping outside the traditional way of doing things such as…

· We listen to how YOU want to buy a car rather than telling you how you are going to buy one.

· We DO NOT have an F&I department. That’s right you only have to deal with 1 person when you come in to buy a vehicle.

· We thank our customers by giving them a 10% OFF VIP discount card for anything else they ever by at Stapp Interstate Toyota for the vehicle for as long as they own it.

· We only offer Toyota Financial Services products. This means if you choose to purchase additional Vehicle Service Coverage, Guaranteed Auto Protection, or Pre-Paid Maintenance it will be insured by a reputable and solid company and will be honored at any Toyota authorized facility in the entire United States.

When we built the new facility on I-25 my wife and I would stay up at night after we put the kids to bed and try to figure out reasons why people might not choose to follow us out to the Interstate.  When we’d come up with a reason, we’d brainstorm on a way to hopefully change their mind.  Here’s a list of a couple of the “solutions”….

· Wireless internet access throughout the entire dealership

· A family restroom

· A REAL media room with big screen TV & leather chairs

· A customer work center w/ telephone, computer and a door for when you need a little privacy

· Amy’s Cafe (this area is named after my late Grandmother who was a major staple in the history & success of Longmont Toyota) offering coffee, snacks, etc.

· We created a “Kid’s Corral” with a matchbox car race track, TV, magnet board, chalk board, books, games, bean bags & more

· LOTS & LOTS of upfront customer parking spots (this was a HUGE complaint at the old location on Main Street in Longmont)

· A dedicated 3 lane enclosed customer drive in the service area for easy drop off and delivery

· A park inspired outdoor waiting area (our customers who bring in their dogs love this)

· A receptionist to welcome you (rather than 4 guys in plaid suits smoking cigarettes)

· A dedicated 3 bay glass enclosed climate controlled delivery area

Ok, I’ll stop….I think you get the point.  The cool part is a couple of the solutions have turned into our customers new favorite aspects of the Stapp Interstate Toyota experience.

I recently challenged the company who does our advertising to stop saying “we are different” and actually “SHOW” our customer that we are indeed different.  Please look for these commercials in the near future and let me know what you think, better yet come by a give us a shot to prove to you that buying or servicing your vehicle can actually be fun, but only at a dealership who is willing to prove that they are different!

Brion Stapp

Stapp Interstate Toyota – Scion

Perception and Reality

Interstate Toyota had an interesting sales meeting this morning about perception and reality. All media reports are talking about how bad things are, our Presidential candidates are pointing out the bad things about each other, the Dow Jones is down.

I think as a consumer, all of the doom and gloom is contagious and it makes us want to hold onto our money due to a lot of uncertainty in the market place.

I looked up the definitions of Perception and Reality in Wikipedia and here is what I found.

Perception is the process of attaining awareness or understanding of sensory information. What one perceives is a result of interplays between past experiences, one’s culture and the interpretation of the perceived. If the percept does not have support in any of these perceptual bases it is unlikely to rise above perceptual threshold.

Reality, in everyday usage, means “the state of things as they actually exist”.  The term reality, in its widest sense, includes everything that is, whether or not it is observable or comprehensible.

We looked at our own perception here at Interstate Toyota and found the reality is that 90 days ago gas was over $4.00 per gallon. We also looked at our sales averages and the reality is that we have been averaging 33 cars per week since January. Also we did an average over the last 4 weeks and we are averaging 32.45 cars per week even though the sky is falling across the country.

The point of all this is it is easy to get caught up in the perception of any situation unless you step back and think about the reality.

Thoughts become things…think good thoughts!

Really Interesting News

So I was looking at an article today in Automotive News. This publication requires a subscription and is a bit of inside information about what’s going on in the industry. Hope you like it!

Toyota Rebate vs. Special Financing

What is the best way to get the best savings when buying a car? Toyota Motor Sales and Toyota Financial Services  have announced huge savings on rebates or special financing rates.  The question arises, which one do I choose? When trying to figure this out, you first need to know how you are paying for the vehicle. Are you a cash buyer or would you prefer payments? Something else to consider is what type of vehicle you are buying and how good are the incentives? Let’s face it, an automobile is a depreciating asset which you want to purchase at the least cost.

We’ll take a 2008 Toyota Tundra for an example at an average MSRP of $35,000.00. Right now you can take a $3,000 rebate from Toyota right off the top and any off the MSRP you can negotiate. So we make a deal and we give you a $1,500 discount on top of the rebate which allows you to buy the truck for $30,500. Adding Boulder city tax as an example for a grand total of $33,592.58. If you were going to write a check for this truck, you may be done and down the road, but in financing, there are many other factors to consider.

Using an average interest rate of 6.5% your payments would $659.00 for 60 months, your finance charge is $5,949.22, and your total amount paid at the end of 60 months is $39,541.80.

Using the same sales price with Toyota’s 0.0% interest, your payments are $610.00 for 60 months, and your total of payments comes to $36,592.58. Your total savings is $2949.22 even though your amount financed is higher, thanks to 0.0%! Even if you are a cash buyer earning only 1% on your money in the bank, it makes more sense to borrow Toyota’s money for free and keep your money from depreciating. In this case, it is better to take the 0.0% financing.

When is it a good time to take the rebate instead? It is a good question considering the average vehicle will depreciate around 50% after 3 years of ownership. The simplest answer would be that if the rebate(s) were enough to lower the price of the vehicle to less than the total amount of payments by using the special rate, take the rebate. If not, the lower financing rates would be the better choice.

These are just several scenarios. There are many other situations that may work for you or other people. If you have any comments, we appreciate them and welcome any opportunity to help you through any situation you may have.