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Hondas in Overdrive at Mission Hills Dealership

It’s well known that Galpin Ford is one the nation’s leading car dealerships. The North Hills outlet has had the highest sales volume of any Ford Motor Co. lot in the world for 23 straight years. Here’s what’s not so well known, but shouldn’t be surprising. The Boeckmann family that has run the Ford business for more than five decades also has a leading Honda dealership in Mission Hills – after opening it just six years ago. Galpin Honda sold 4,174 new vehicles through Oct. 31, making it the seventh best-selling Honda Motor Co. Ltd. dealership in the nation year-to-date. And it was number two in sales for August and September. Those kinds of sales propelled Galpin Honda to No. 14 on the Business Journal’s list of Fastest Growing Private Companies. Sales increased 95 percent to $125 million between 2009 and 2011. By comparison, Galpin Ford was No. 30 on the list with a growth rate of 45 percent. It had sales of $328 million in 2011. Honda Galpin General Manager Ed Hartoonian said the Japanese car dealership has succeeded by following the same business model of the Ford dealership. It provides convenient, top-notch professional service – something owner Herbert Boeckmann and his son demand from of all his dealerships. “That is what the Boeckmanns have a reputation of doing,” he said. “We don’t want to let them down.” The Honda outlet is part of Galpin Motors Inc., which in addition to Ford sells Subaru, Mazda, Volkswagen, Lincoln, Volvo, Aston Martin, Jaguar and Lotus cars. It also customizes cars at Galpin Auto Sports. (See photo essay page 32.) The Galpin sales strategy is only part of the equation at the Honda store. The dealership has benefited from the strong brand loyalty owners have for the cars, especially the sub-compact Civic, mid-size Accord, and CRV compact SUV. Statewide the Japanese brand accounted for 138,709 new car and light truck registrations through Sept. 30, second only to Toyota/Scion and ahead of Ford, according to the California New Car Dealers Association. Jesse Toprak, vice president of market analysis for Truecar.com in Santa Monica, said buyers are attracted to the brand’s reliability, gas mileage and high resale value. The Tokyo automaker also benefited this year as its factories have gotten back to full production after the March 2011 tsunami. “Since last year, after the tsunami and production problems and losing market share, Honda has recovered and got back their share, showing how strong the loyalty is,” Toprak said. Desirable location Galpin Honda is among the 1,300 Honda and Acura dealerships the Japanese carmaker has in the U.S. Galpin opened its Honda store in July 2006 after the carmaker sought to have a dealership in the north Valley. Galpin competed against existing Honda dealers for the location but had a leg up with its long track record and a 4.5-acre site it owned that previously served for refurbishing used cars, said Brad Boeckmann, son of Herbert Boeckmann and vice president of Galpin Motors. “They knew Galpin by reputation and knew we would take any brand and do a good job with it,” the junior Boeckmann said. Hartoonian had been a sales manager at Galpin Ford when he was picked to head up the Honda store. His staff skewed toward young people to reflect the Honda customer base and make them more comfortable when buying a car. “If you are not like them it is hard to know what (the customer) is looking for,” Brad Boeckmann said. Galpin Honda has already been recognized by Honda, winning the company’s President’s Award for its achievements in 2010 in customer service and satisfaction, sales, training and facility. It was one of 118 U.S. Honda dealerships to receive the award. The car dealer spent $3.5 million to upgrade the Mission Hills location to become Galpin Honda. A café was added later, and the company is currently in the process of refurbishing the second floor and adding six offices. Starting in January, the dealer will offer service hours until 9 p.m. six days a week.

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
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