New Reinhardt Motors Facility Wows Customers
By David Zaslawsky
Photagraphy by Robert Fouts
Some people come out of the restrooms at the Toyota/Scion and Lexus dealerships with wet hands and complain about the lack of paper towels.
The restrooms have a Dyson dryer and depending on where you place your hands you will either continue to put water on them or dry them off. Those Dyson dryers were meant as a wow element, according to Mike Reinhardt, president of Reinhardt Motors, which owns the dealerships and is general manager of the Lexus store. “We were trying to pick out something that would differentiate us,” he said.
He said that some customers don’t realize they are helping the environment. “They come in with wet hands and say, ‘Are you so cheap that you didn’t want to put paper (towels) in there?’ ”
He also has heard from customers sitting in the café/lounge, which doubles as a waiting area for customers having their cars serviced. By the way, there is a fireplace in the lounge.
The fireplace was another wow – “something to be memorable,” Reinhardt said. For some customers, however, they have complained about the cost of repairs because so much money was spent on the waiting areas.
The owners of the sprawling, 83,000-square-foot facility for Lexus, Toyota and Scion spent a lot of their money. When told that the facility does not seem like a dealership other than vehicles in the showroom, Reinhardt asked: “Does it make you feel like we spent too much?”
Only he, his brother Ed and sisters Jamie Raley and Linda Wilson can answer that. He can answer how much was spent on the new facility and it will be around $20 million – nearly 20 percent more than estimated after adding a road, paving and an employee parking lot.
“Our customers love it,” Reinhardt said. “We were not so focused on (spending) … we’d love to make our payments.” He recalled that his father who built the previous facility “was trying to make sure that the notes were going to be paid.” That was not the case with the four siblings. His dad had said that “he didn’t feel like we had cut any place like he had. I certainly believe that we could have cut back. We could have reigned it in and we really didn’t. My brother and sisters were like: ‘How are we going to pay for all of this?’ Honestly, a lot of it is faith. We hope it continues the relationship that our family has had with the community.”
A lot of it is selling a lot of vehicles and, of course, servicing them. The monthly sales goal, announced at the groundbreaking, was 350 vehicles and the three dealerships nearly achieved that in August with a total of 336 vehicles sold, including 131 pre-owned. Service revenue jumped 20 percent in August from the same period a year ago. Total revenue through August was $73 million, an increase of 10 percent from last year, but Reinhardt pointed out that the first two months of 2015 were very slow and of course there have been disruptions with opening a new facility. Adjustments were still being made to some of the equipment three months after the dealerships opened.
The service area features 40-plus bays, including six quick-service bays as well as wet detail and dry detail areas.
Reinhardt Motors has grown to 166 employees, including about 30 added for the new facility. The growth will continue as Reinhardt hopes to hire another 15 people. He is looking for five more salespeople – two for Lexus and three for Toyota – and technicians.0
Lexus, Toyota, Scion share Same Building
By David Zaslawsky
Photography by Robert Fouts
Toyota very carefully – painstakingly – created the luxury brand Lexus and for the most part, kept it separate from Toyota. The automaker sought the upscale car buyer.
Now, right here in Montgomery, Reinhardt Motors opened a new facility in the summer and combined its Toyota and Lexus dealerships, not to mention its Scion dealership, which is located on the southernmost area of the building.
There are perhaps only two other locations in the country – Boston and Anchorage, Alaska, where Lexus and Toyota dealerships are located together.
Reinhardt Motors does have separate entrances for Lexus and Toyota; separate showrooms; and separate lounges/cafes. Yet, you can walk inside the facility and visit both showrooms.
“We’re the only store that (has) the shop in one continuous shop and the office is common,” said Mike Reinhardt, general manager of the Lexus dealership and president of Reinhardt Motors, which owns the dealerships.
There are plenty of common areas, including that hallway. They share a business office, parts department and service department. The technicians can handle work for Toyota, Scion and Lexus and any other vehicle although some are dedicated to Toyotas and some are dedicated to Lexus, Reinhardt said. Some techs prefer to work on pre-owned vehicles, he said. If you are wondering, there are more Toyota technicians because there are more Toyotas sold than Lexus vehicles.
When asked why the dealerships were combined, Reinhardt said, “It would obviously be easier if we ever wanted to sell off either store for them to be two separate stores. As a family we didn’t expect to do that. We made the commitment that we would always be the Toyota-Lexus dealer in Montgomery. For us, it made sense to build a common facility on a common piece of property.”
The dealerships have the type of vehicles that “fit every budget,” Reinhardt said. The Scion is for the younger customers; Toyota bridges the gap from the young to the upscale buyer. “We have to make sure as an automobile retailer in this community that (customers) know everything we have,” Reinhardt said. “There are different reasons for buying the cars.”
There are customers who now look at both Toyota and Lexus, according to Reinhardt, while the separate Toyota and Lexus sales staffs only get paid for selling vehicles from their dealership. For the first three months of the new facility there was not much movement from Toyota customers buying a Lexus or a Lexus customer buying a Toyota, Reinhardt said.
“I would say that we really don’t have a customer come in and say, ‘While I’m here I’ll just walk over next door and look at Lexus.’ ”
Although the vehicles are sold at the same facility, Lexus customers are treated differently than Toyota customers and that stems from the different training staffs receive. Toyota calls its training Toyota University and for Lexus it’s called Lexus College. The Lexus employees attend a senior master certified program that includes a heavy dose of personal development.
Lexus owners are made to feel special, Reinhardt said. “They will feel differentiated. The waiting room for Lexus is much smaller. It’s more unique – specialized for our clients. The Toyota waiting area is much larger and we tried to bring it upscale, but it’s still not what you expect to find in the Lexus area.”
As a luxury car owner, you receive a loaner vehicle when your car is being repaired and your vehicle will be washed. There is a courtesy shuttle service for Toyota owners.