Smart Motors is building a 100,000-sq.-ft. facility in Madison, WI. It will be the largest Toyota dealership in the Chicago region, a sprawling market that includes portions of four states.
Impressive vehicle sales led to the decision to build the new facility and demolish the old one, says Smart Motors President and CEO J.R. Smart.
“Our sales began to increase to the point were we could no longer accommodate the pre-owned sales department or the body shop in that facility,” says Smart. “While that is a good problem to have, it definitely presented us with challenges.”
The new facility includes separate indoor showrooms for Toyota and Scion, doubling the old capacity. There's room outdoors for displaying 600 vehicles.
The new building will include 41 service bays (an increase from 17) and four no-appointment oil-change bays.
“Probably the biggest improvement will be our service capacity,” says Smart. “This is a tremendous focus for us, and by more than doubling our service capacity, customers will have greater flexibility in scheduling service appointments and faster repair times.”
There also will be a large waiting area and beverage bar, a lounge with personal work areas and wireless Internet, flat-screen TVs and two children's play areas.
During construction, Smart Motors faced some heady issues. There were concerns as to how to operate properly after the existing building was demolished.
“We knew we couldn't make the facilities an excuse for a slip in service or sales,” says Smart. “We set up operations in temporary units around the property.
“Sometimes the sales team would have to run from the service bays to the sales trailer to the administration offices across the street,” he says. “But given the circumstances, I think we did pretty well.”
The construction project began in November of 2006. It is expected to end this month. Smart experienced no sales setbacks during the work.
Instead 2007 has been a record year, with sales up nearly 18%, Smart says. Madison is in Dane County where one out of every four vehicles sold is a Toyota.