Expanding Opportunity: Austin Ford Chrysler breaks ground on addition, renovation

Published 7:00 pm Friday, June 14, 2024

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On Tuesday of this week, Austin Ford Chrysler celebrated a groundbreaking for a new expansion of its facility that will not only update the business, but give a major boost to what it can offer the people of Austin.

The massive expansion is being added onto the east side of current building and the existing structure will also be renovated inside including many of the offices and the service area which will augment existing services recently added including mobile service for vehicles that need to be worked on as well as a service that can bring some maintenance services to where the vehicle is rather than bringing it in.

“My goal and hope is that when people see that we’ve put this commitment into the community that they will reward us,” said Jonathan Nissly, owner of Austin Ford Chrysler. “We want to give them a nice, quality experience when they are here.”

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Cement was being poured on the foundation of the expansion just after Tuesday’s groundbreaking with all work, including the remodel of the existing building, slated to be finished by year’s end.

Once completed, the Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge Ram inventory will be featured in the new section while Ford will be highlighted in the remodeled section.

As part of the renovations, delivery zones will be added to both showrooms, that will allow new vehicle purchases to be staged for their buyers, a feature Nissly said should  be appreciated in the winter months and will be a highlight of the new look.

“The showroom will be nice,” Nissly said. “We’re probably going to have four of each brand. You’ll come in and you’ll have more of a feel for each brand rather than everything mixed together.”

Nissly and Gary Embretson purchased Austin Ford Chrysler in January of 2023, and came in with the intent of updating the facility immediately.

The building needed to reflect their intention when coming in that also including working on the culture of the store to make sure everybody was on the same page.

“When we came down here our goal was really to revitalize this store,” Nissly said. “We just realized that Austin would not only thrive from that, but could use a good store that’s up to date.”

Some of the things they opted to do first was replace infrastructure including the hoists in the service area that were near 30 years old. They then added the two new services that gave customers more flexibility when getting work done.

Ford, without extra charge, will come and pick up the vehicle to do the work and then deliver it within a 20-mile radius.

Nissly said that addition has resulted in an average of three to four calls per day and helped increase the amount of the service department.

“Our service percentage — we’re up 30-40% just from January of last year to this year,” he said. “If you give people a fair price, great service and they trust you they are going to do business with you.”

Ford is also in the process of bringing four electric vehicle (EV) charging stations online that will act as a filling station for EV vehicles. In that respect, Nissly said that Ford is simply meeting an increased demand.

“We’re not going to be an all EV community, but there is a small component that we wanted to provide to these people,” he said. “It might not be 50% or 25% of people that want it, but we wanted to be ready for it.”

Everything currently in the works and completed, along with aggressive pricing where Austin Ford Chrysler meets or beats other dealership prices, has begun showing results for the dealership.

“I think we’re feeling it already,” Nissly said. “A community this size, it doesn’t go unnoticed, right? I think it’s exciting for a community this size when people want to invest in the community.”

Helping to bolster this is the fact that auto sales are starting to return to pre-pandemic levels. Nissly said that used car prices are down 12% and that new cars are following suit.

It’s also resulting in increased inventory. Taken together, it leaves Nissly with the dealership’s original goal.

“Our goal is to make sure there is no reason for a customer to go out of town to buy a car,” he said. “I trust this team, trust this store. It’s a nice facility, has a great inventory and pricing is fair.”