While many dealerships are claiming traffic is at an all-time low, Mathews Nissan Suzuki in Clarksville, TN, is seeing more customers.
Why It's not all about the new facility or the 700 vehicles in inventory spread over 10 acres. It's due largely to the Loyalty Fuel Center gas island at the rear of the dealership.
When the current store was built in 2006, operating partner O.B. Garland wanted unique ways to ensure the customers would come back. The fuel center has been one of the most effective.
Both dealership sales and service customers with Loyalty Fuel cards get discounted fuel prices. That's a big draw.
“I didn't realize when we first opened the fuel center how much gas prices would soar,” Garland says. “We promised to stay below the average price per gallon and we've kept that promise to our customers despite the fluctuations in the gasoline market.
“The fuel center has experienced steady business since we opened, but as gas prices have increased we have seen additional business,” he says. “Customers who live farther away are starting to come back more often because the savings are so much greater at our pumps right now.”
The average number of gallons pumped per month has increased by almost 14,000 in the past three months. The largest increase was seen in April with an additional 1,692 transactions.
The loyalty center includes an automatic car wash, which averaged 950 retail washes in the last two months.
The dealership has detected a trend. Each time gas prices start to skyrocket, more people ask about the discount card. Gardland sees those inquiries as opportunities to increase customer loyalty and business, even if it's just an oil change.
The program has expanded to a sister store, Garland Nissan, in Hopkinsville, KY.