King’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

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King Buick GMC Mitsubphoto9ishi is celebrating it’s first Breast Cancer Awareness Month!  All month long we will honor those succumbed to cancer and also those who have survived.  We have partnered with the Susan G. Komen Foundation to donate $100 for every vehicle sold and $10 for every Service over $200!  To date we have raised $4,320!  Every Friday our dealership will go “Pink On Purpose”!  We be wearing our exclusive Pink King Buick GMC Mitsubishi staff shirts in support of awareness, prevention and eradication of Breast Cancer!  You can join in the fight against cancer either by purchasing a vehicle, servicing a vehicle or purchasing one of our limited “Driving Toward A Cure” T-shirt.  Proceeds will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. photo7We will also have a Breast Cancer Awareness Day here at King.  October 25th from 10 AM until 3 PM, we will have representatives from the Susan G. Komen foundation on site to provide Breast Cancer awareness and prevention information.  We will have and prizes as well, so be sure to mark the date on your calendar and be sure to “Drive Toward A Cure!”

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The King Goes for a K.O. Against Breast Cancer!

October 2013, was a trying time for all of America.  We saw our Government come to a screeching halt, uncertainty about our economy arose and worst of all 800,000 government workers were left to wonder when they would go back to work or receive another paycheck.  Local Metro Washington D.C.IMAG0846 businesses were all affected by the shutdown because if no one is working, no one is purchasing products.  When the idea to participate in Breast Cancer Awareness Month was presented to our GM Conrad Aschenbach, he didn’t hesitate to accept the challenge.  “I’m sick of all this gloom and doom, I understand the politics, but we still have an obligation to our community!”  Mr. Aschenbach didn’t think of the rising expenses, the loss of revenue or the empty showroom, all he cared about was showing King Buick GMC Mitsubishi’s support for a worth while cause!  We partnered with Susan G. Komen Maryland and it was decided that we would donate $100 for every vehicle sold and $10 for every service visit over $200.  With the help and support of our employees and customers, we raised $4,320 within the first week!

Support for our Breast Cancer Awareness Month picked up traction as we donned our exclusive King Buick GMC Mitsubishi Breast Cancer Awareness staff shirts and also our custom “Driving Toward

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A Cure” t-shirts.  Our t-shirts were available for customers to purchase with all proceeds going towards the fight against Breast Cancer! Every staff member showed their support every Friday as we went Pink on Purpose.  We wore our Pink shirts, wristbands and even had Pink water bottles available for our guests. We heard stories about family members who were survivors, even personal stories of coping with breast cancer.  Everyone was grateful that we participated in such a worth while cause.

photo4  To culminate our fundraising efforts we decided to have a Breast Cancer Awareness Day.  We invited representatives from Susan G. Komen  Maryland to our showroom to provide information on the prevention, detection and eradication of breast cancer.  We made our “Driving Towards A Cure” t-shirts available for purchase and also held a raffle to raise additional funds to donate to Susan G. Komen Maryland.  Our raffle included, King Breast Cancer Awareness shirts, Madden 25 video games, coffee mugs, water bottles and hats donated to us by one of our vendors Cintas.  The raffle went well, with a drawing every 30 minutes.  Our employees and customers helped us in our fundraising goal by participating in the raffle.  We were able to raise $285 in less than 4 hours.  These funds will be added tphoto44o our total funds raised!  Although it was a short time we had a great deal of fun for a great cause. “A big thank you to King, as well as all of your employees and customers for your generosity, hospitality and good cheer!” (Adrienne Johnson, Susan G. Komen National Race Coordinator)  The month of October is over and our fund raising goal has been exceeded.  We projected that we would raise $12,000, but we shattered that goal!  Our total funds raised was $15,680.00!  We will have a check presentation at our King Buick GMC dealership Friday November 8th at 10:00 AM.  We wanted to thank our vendors, employees and customers that helped us reach this goal.  We look forward to participating in the fight against cancer next year!  Thank you once again for helping us “Drive Toward A Cure!”

-King Buick GMC Mitsubishi

King For A Day!

IMAG1324When it comes to car lovers, there are different degrees of engagement.  You have the individuals who know the make and models, appreciate great design, but they couldn’t tell you the difference between a socket wrench and an EGR valve.  Then there are those that eat, breathe and sleep cars!  Somehow that Car Guy automotive gene was inherited by Jeffrey “AJ” Wims at an early age.  While other children longed for the latest Blues Clues DVD, AJ could be found snuggled up watching a Grave Digger Monster Truck DVD.   While other children threw their Hot Wheels aimlessly under the bed or in closets, AJ kept his neatly in a carrying case.   Although he owned hundreds of Hot Wheels he could tell you when you bought him one that he already had.  His love for the automotive industry has intensified as he has matured, so much so that he has decided to become an Mechanical Engineer, designing cars for a manufacturer.   He was given an assignment by his teacher at Takoma Academy to shadow someone in the field that he would like to enter.  AJ wanted a taste of the automotive industry so he asked if he could come to King Buick GMC Mitsubishi for the day to shadow employees.  He was able to work along with Aaron Powell in our Mitsubishi Service center, changing oil, rotating tires and even helping out on a vehicle diagnosis or two. IMAG0846 The best part of AJ’s visit was being able to sit down with our GM Conrad Aschenbach, who happens to be an Engineer.  Conrad’s passion for the industry goes beyond his knowledge of Engineering, he has held almost every position at his family’s dealership.  So when he completed his Engineering degree and started his career, it was no surprise that he longed to be back on the showroom floor. He still puts his degree to good use as he customizes his Corvette along with other projects.  Conrad advised AJ that he could use an Engineering degree for many purposes and also to be a successful designer, you need to know all the aspects of the automotive industry from retail to the factory.  He also provided different academic clubs and organizations that would help AJ in reaching his goal of becoming an Engineer.

With how busy the automotive industry is, especially dealerships, you can imagine how hard it was to find a quiet moment to help a youngster map out his future.  King Auto has been serving the community since 1928, and we never miss a chance to give a hand to those in our community especially when it comes to cars… because there are “Car Guys….and then there are Car Guys!”

The Battle Of the Fuel Efficient Vehicles (Part 2)

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My second energy efficient vehicle test drive was with the 2012 Buick LaCrosse with eAssist.  The first thing that you notice when driving the LaCrosse is the room inside the vehicle.  When you think of Hybrids or Fuel Efficient vehicles, your mind quickly diverts to tiny soap box type vehicles with room for maybe 2 adults.  The LaCrosse is a full size sedan, and the flagship of the Buick line.  The vehicle that I test drove had cloth, and the Intellilink radio.  I enjoyed the XM radio, the Driver Information center, and other extras like Remote Start, Cruise Control, Onstar and the 17″ Alloy wheels.

So how does a full size sedan with all these extras give you 33 MPG? The LaCrosse has a  separate electric engine which is housed in the rear of the vehicle (trunk).  When you come to a stop, the engine turns off and the electric engine starts up.  Once the brake is released the gasoline engine automatically starts back up.  GM has doe studies on the system and found that there was a 32% Improvement in City MPG and 24% Improvement in Highway driving.  With the substantial MPG increase, the LaCrosse wins the panic factor over the iMIEV.  You can save fuel, but not have to worry about the thought of not finding a charging station for miles.  The only draw back for the LaCrosse is the fact that there is no spare in order to compensate for the electrical engine.  But even with the reduced space you still have enough room to store things.2012-Buick-LaCrosse-with-e-Assist-Technology-001-trunk

All in all the LaCrosse is a GREAT vehicle.  It gives you the best of both worlds, the fuel efficiency of an Hybrid with the piece of mind of being able to pull into a gas station when you’re close to empty.  The iMIEV is a vehicle that demands a lifestyle change if it is going to be your main vehicle.  You don’t have to make as drastic of a change to own the LaCrosse.  It also dispels the myth of the tiny fuel efficient vehicle.  If it’s big enough for Shaq, I’m sure it’s big enough for you!

 

Another Case of…..”The Customer Is Always Right!”

debbienealDebbie Neal has been a part of the King Auto Family for years.  She was a loyal Saturn customer and when Saturn closed it’s doors Debbie remained a loyal Service customer.  Not only did Debbie purchase her vehicles from us, but she also makes sure every service visit is completed at King Buick GMC. Debbie finally decided to let the Saturn go and purchased a new Buick Regal.  You will know Debbie is around the showroom, because there is always laughter where ever she is.  Her usual spot is in Bob Benson’s cubicle, but she is known to be spotted at the receptionist desk, touring the Service Department, and there has even been the rare Internet Department sighting.  Unlike most customers, Debbie enjoys the time spent at the dealership, and we enjoy seeing her, so it was a surprise when she pulled me aside and wanted to express a concern with our Service Department.  She scheduled a Service Appointment online but did not hear back from anyone. She thought it was odd, so she came in anyway.  She was told by Service that they had not received the request, but she was certain she sent it, and even showed me when it was sent.  Her concern was not about herself, or the inconvenience, but for the dealership as a whole.  How many others have done the same and did not hear back from anyone and decided to go elsewhere for service?  We looked into the issue and discovered a few links on the site had a link to our old King Pontiac Service email address that is not currently being used.  Without Debbie’s help, this may have gone on longer.  We restructured our Online Service Appointment response procedure to ensure all Service Customers are responded to in a timely manner.  Now when you schedule a Service Appointment online you will receive a personalized confirmation email, and also a phone call from our Service Dispatcher Kelly Myles! We appreciate Debbie’s help and also her continued commitment to the King Buick GMC Family without our TRUE customers we could not survive.  As we prepare to enter a new phase of the King Buick GMC legacy, we want to ensure we are listening to our customers.  We have created a new email box that can be used to relay any comments, questions or concerns to the Management Team here at King.  The email address is customercomments@kingauto.com.  Please be sure to use this email is you have concerns in regards to Sales, Service or Parts……we want to make sure our customer’s voices are heard, because the customer is ALWAYS right!

 

King Buick GMC

 

A New Look For King Buick GMC Mitsubishi in 2013!

We made it safely through 2012 despite all of the issues we’ve faced; elections, debt ceilings a slumping economy and fiscal cliffs couldn’t hinder King Buick GMC Mitsubishi.  Despite all that we have faced, we were able to post a record sales month for Buick GMC and also received a Diamond Sales award for our Mitsubishi brand.  All of this would not be possible if it were not for you the customer!

As we embark upon another year we have much more to accomplish.  As you know we are in the midst of a huge remodeling project at our Buick GMC showroom.  The new showroom will have an updated Service waiting area and also an enclosed Service drive making it easily accessible and convenient for customers.  We will also be introducing new vehicles in 2013.  We already have the redesigned Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia on our lot, and later this year we will introduce the all new Buick Encore, a luxury Cross-Over Utility Vehicle.  For those of you who love Pick-Ups, I know you can’t wait for the redesigned GMC Sierra! And that’s just what’s in store for GM.

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Our Mitsubishi brand will be welcoming 3 new vehicles this year, the first being the redesigned 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander.  The Outlander has been touring the Autoshow circuit and has received rave reviews.  Mitsubishi is also introducing a plug in hybrid version of the Outlander!  There are great opportunities on the horizon.  We will be updating our Mitsubishi showroom as well.  The project will not be as extensive, but the goal is the same, to benefit you the customer.  We want to ensure we provide you with a safe, comfortable environment where you can purchase or service your vehicle.

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Thank you once again for your continued support of King Buick GMC Mitsubishi.  Stay tuned for upcoming vehicle releases and “Grand Re-Opening” events for our Buick GMC showroom.

Sincerely,

King Buick GMC

The Battle of the Fuel Efficient Vehicles! (Part 1)

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I recently wrote about how to decipher the cryptic language of the electric vehicle world, what MPGe really means and the difference between electric and hybrid vehicles.  My first test drive was with the iMIEV.  The iMIEV is a total electric vehicle, and takes a bit of getting used to.  The first difference comes in starting the vehicle, there are no audible engine noises so the only way you know that the vehicle is on is because the “READY” sign shows on the dash.

The interior is roomy, even though I am not the largest guy, I didn’t feel cramped at all. The next myth about electric vehicles is that they are slow and lack pick up.  The iMIEV actually has a surprisingly peppy feel.  You have an option of operating the vehicle in Drive (D) which will give you a faster take off and better performance, but it will drain your battery quicker.  The next driving option is ECO, which will limit your vehicle’s take off and performance but will increase the mileage range and the battery life.  The last option is Braking Regeneration (B), with this option you regenerate the battery while braking and going down hill.

I wasn’t aware of all the options so I drove home in Drive.  I wanted to test the performance of the vehicle so I took it up to about 60 or so.  Surprisingly the vehicle responded well, but I wouldn’t suggest going much faster than that because the vehicle is not built for performance. The body roll is definitely noticeable.  As I was on the highway, I noticed that the power gauge dropping quickly so I cut off the radio.  Then I noticed the ECO gear option and shifted into that gear.  Once in ECO, I noticed the considerable lack of power but did notice the increased conservation of energy.  I knew that there was a charging station at a nearby Walgreen’s, so I took the vehicle there to charge the iMIEV up.  The charging station is a pay station and only accepts pay pass (a wireless way to pay without having to swipe your card, you just simply tap the card on the device.) You can also pay with Google Wallet, I guess a sophisticated vehicle deserves a sophisticated way to charge and pay for it.  I wasn’t aware of the pay options, so I couldn’t use the station, instead I took the charger out of the trunk, attached an extension cord and charged it from a wall socket at my house.

Neighbors were impressed by the technology, everyone had the same question, “Where do you put gas in?”  They were amazed when I told them it was a total electric vehicle.  There next question was, how much did it cost.  Most were amazed by the price.  I drove the ES model which comes with power windows and locks, CD player, AM/FM radio and a few other bells and whistles, but nothing too extreme.  The more dressed up model is the SE, which comes slightly better equipped.  The ES model which I had has an MSRP of approximately $30,000.00, but if you factor in the technology of the electric engine and the savings you’ll receive from fuel cost…..it sort of evens out.

My return trip was a little eventful, because I didn’t drive the vehicle properly I used too much power and the charger that I had needed 22 hours for a full charge.  I left it charging all night but was only able to get almost a 3/4 charge.  I was driving into work and was using the wipers the lights and the radio.  I saw the battery drain once more and became a little concerned because the charge was nearing empty.  I started using the Braking Regeneration gear to conserve power and slipped into work with an almost dead battery.

My thoughts on the iMIEV, it is great for individuals who use it as a second car.  You also have to have a very short commute, and be conservative in regards to acceleration. Your driving habits effect your mileage range so you have to be cognizant of this fact.  You have to do research in regards to the purchase of the iMIEV.  Are there charging stations in your neighborhood?  Can you afford to install the super charger if you have a house, or does your complex have a charging station if you live in an apartment.  Another question you must ask yourself, what are electrical costs in your area, if it is a high rate, you might be just as bad off as you are if you had a gas vehicle.  In the end, the iMIEV and any total electric vehicle for that matter is not just a purchase but a lifestyle change.  You have to be knowledgeable about the purchase and care of the vehicle, you also have to be willing to be inconvenienced at times. Not all cities cater to electric vehicles, so you might have to hunt for charging stations.  There are apps for iPhones and Androids such as MOBI.e and CarStations that locate charging stations and use peer reviews to update location information.  If I would have known this I might have been better prepared.  The purchase of an electric vehicle can not be an impulsive one, it needs to be an educate planned purchase and a life style change.  I know most people would say why would they invest all that time and energy into the ownership of a vehicle, but if you are a person who is eco-conscious and feel strongly about using alternative fuel sources and sustaining our environment, then it is well worth the hassle.  Inconvenience doesn’t matter when you are standing up for something you believe in.  Although I hate to admit it, I had my save the planet moment while in college in Portland, OR.  The people there were so eco-conscious they made me feel guilty.  When I moved into my house I set my card board boxes out at the curb only to receive a nasty note from my garbage man imploring me to recycle.  Being a Southern California native, this was unheard of.  I slowly came around, even to the point where I purchased a bike and pedaled to work rather than burn gas.  Alternative means of transportation and fuel sources require a total lifestyle change!  So get out there and get charged up!

Kings Car Guy

Do you guzzle or sip…..or should you do both?

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Summer time is here and so starts the road trip season.  If you’re loading up to pick your child up from college, or if you’re finally taking that family trip to the Magic Kingdom you have to factor in fuel cost.  But in today’s economy you not only have to factor in fuel costs for road trips but also daily usage of vehicles. Enter Electric and Hybrid vehicles such as the Buick LaCrosse pictured above and the Mitsubishi iMIEV pictured below.  If you were to purchase one of these vehicles, the thinking is you will see immediate returns at the gas pump….umm I mean the electric outlet or charging station.  But is the true cost of ownership really understood?  Edmunds.com published an article about how to decode the MPGe listed on electric vehicle window stickers.  Our own Mitsubishi iMIEV touts a healthy 112 MPGe.  So to the lay person such as myself; you can’t contain the excitement…”wow, 112 MPG”  But wait, the iMIEV doesn’t have a gas tank sooooo how the..?

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So here’s the breakdown, there’s two figures that are factored, MPGe and also range.  Let’s start with the MPGe To create the mpg equivalent, the EPA uses an established energy standard of 115,000 BTUs (British thermal units) per gallon of gasoline. Translation, if you burn 1 gallon of unleaded gasoline, it would generate that much heat. To create the same amount of heat, you would need 33.7 kilowatt-hours of electricity. So if the iMIEV traveled 100 miles on 33.7 kWh of electricity it would receive an mpg equivalency of 100 mpg-e.  The iMIEV requires less than the 33.7 kWh gallon-of-gas equivalent to travel 100 miles, so it gets a 112 MPGe.  You can’t directly equate this to fuel cost however.

What really matters to you should be the range, the amount of miles you receive per charge.  The iMIEV is rated at 63 miles per charge, so if you have a daily commute of less than 50-60 miles per day…this would be a perfect option for you.  If your commute is longer the eAssist LaCrosse may be a better option.  You can still receive the fuel efficiency but you will not have to worry about mileage range or the availability     of charging stations.  If clean energy is what you’re seeking then the iMIEV is a great choice.  No matter what your decision is, you need to factor in the true cost of ownership.  Will you have a charging station installed, or use the included adapter?  What is the kilo watt per hour rate in your area?  All of these are factors you should consider when seeking fuel efficient alternatives.  But whatever the decision is, make sure you are knowledgeable about your purchase! Happy fuel efficient trails!

King’s Car Guy

www.kingbuickgmc.com

www.kingautomitsubishi.com

 

The New Digital Dealer

April 15th brings fear and trepidation to almost everyone.  Despite who’s in office, or how much you make, regardless…..everyone still owes.  Tax time is usually an introspective time where you look at what you’ve made, what you have to show for it, and how you will restructure things for the upcoming year.

As an automobile dealer group, we go through the same process, we look at how we handled business in the previous year and how we might be able to meet this year’s goals and objectives.  Has the auto industry changed?  Can we attract customers using the same old tactics?  Where are customers searching for vehicles?  These questions have eluded all sales and marketing directors in the industry.  If we had the answer, we wouldn’t fall prey to all of the lead generation vendors swearing they can bring you multiple leads and sales magically.  Not long ago, being a player in the digital world meant having a website, then paid search got introduced to the mix.  Now we have Social Media, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM).  How often have you been asked to visit a 3rd party website such as Dealerrater.com or Google Places to submit a positive review?

Dealers have been so obsessed with implementing a digital strategy that they jump head first into the Social Media, Paid Search and SEO arena’s.  Some pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to be in that top spot so you will click on their website when you are ready to make your next purchase.  They also spend unheard of amounts to dress their websites up to attract customers.  How many times have you fell victim, like I have to the beautiful hotel website in another state, only to get there and realize they must have photo shopped every picture because the place is a dump!  This is the same with car dealerships, no matter how many Google Reviews have been coerced out of customers, if at the end of the day the service doesn’t match the online portrayal the dealership will suffer.

Most dealers take part in Social Media and other online venues grudgingly because they don’t want to have negative things said about them online.  Even if they view the comments or not, things are still being said.  The secret is to manage those comments and not give your customers what you think they want but what they actually ask for.

A dealer’s online reputation should match their actual in person performance.  They should not be attentive to online customers for fear of public backlash and neglect customers such as my grandmother who doesn’t know Google from Gobble!  If a dealer’s main focus is exceptional service, that will show in their online presence and in the way they handle their customers face to face.  In the end, while marketing strategies have changed, the one constant in the marketing mix has remained the same, you the customer.  If you as a customer take to an online forum to vent your frustrations, or if you tell a friend of a negative experience, you are still using word of mouth.  The Internet just makes your voice as a customer louder.  But in this day in age every customer counts…..no matter where they come from, the Internet or the old fashion walk-in.  A customer lost, is an opportunity lost. We at King Auto welcome your thoughts as we embark into the new age Digital Dealer, while still delivering that royal treatment that that you have come to expect and deserve!

Kingscarguy

www.kingbuickgmc.com

www.kingautomitsubishi.com