Spending is estimated to advance another 7.1% in 2018 and will expand to $1.7 trillion total by 2022.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — David Bastian, commercial sales manager of Towne Livery, provides the most varied selection of chauffeured vehicles since the dealership started in 2007 as a franchise of Towne Auto Group. A vehicle specialist for 23 years, he credits his success to close client relationships.
Towne Auto Group in July acquired the Steve Baldo Chevrolet Buick Cadillac dealership in North Collins, about 18 miles away. The dealership, which remains with the same employees, has been rebranded as Towne Chevrolet Buick Cadillac. Altogether, Towne Livery will now sell chauffeured luxury vehicles from eight major OEM brands: Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Lincoln, Ford, BMW, Hyundai and Maserati. This is the first time Towne Auto Group is selling Cadillacs, Chevrolets and Buicks.
“The additions of the new brands and the consistent way we take care of customers have been key. Not only do I sell vehicles to the industry, but I spend hours each month working with our local associations and Limousine, Bus, Taxi Operators of Upstate New York lobbying issues that affect this industry, whether it is TNCs or limousine sales taxes. I talk to New York State senators and assemblymen because I care about this industry as an advocate.”
Experience = Expertise
Bastian’s industry experience helps him deliver vehicles to his clients without hassles. His business relationships have turned into long-term collaborations and even friendships. “There are advantages to using dealers that work exclusively within the industry,” he says. “We understand which vehicles and models come with extended service contracts, and how the financing terms work with the banks.
When operators come to a dealer like us, we can save them time and money because we know what they’re looking for. Instead of spending a few hours at a dealership, they can call me and I’ll answer their questions.”
The addition of the OEM brands resulted from long planning and investment.“We are one of the few dealerships franchised by every product we sell,” he says. “There are no middlemen involved in my transactions. I can be more efficient because I’m working with all of our own people. All of our dealerships are within 20 miles, and I can be there to check the paperwork, check the car, and make sure everything is correct.”
Building Loyalty and Consistency
Bastian handles the complete sales process. Although the work can be laborious, the payoff is in seeing clients grow companies from one to two cars into 10-plus vehicle fleets. “[New companies] usually do start with a one or two-car purchase, and based on how [the operators] perform, if they do the right thing and take care of their customers, they’ll continue to grow and add to the fleet and they’ll come back to us,” he says. “I feel fortunate that I’ve built a lot of strong business relationships that have turned into friendships.”
For a dealership, readying cars for delivery requires an inspection and a detailing before loading them up. The in-house capabilities and proximity of the vehicles at Towne Livery allow him to monitor the process, Bastian says. “I’m handling the sales process from the initial call to the final delivery. I sell the vehicle, help with the finance, and help with paperwork. I make sure the car gets down to service and I give the final inspection when they come out of detail.”
The sale role motivates Bastian in his role defending the limousine industry against TNCs and advocating for equal regulations. Both roles enable him to help new operators thrive in a healthy business environment with well-financed vehicles. “The big thing is how you handle your customers. Over time, by handling situations professionally when they occur, you build loyalty with your customers.”
Sector: Livery vehicle sales representing 14 franchise brands at six locations
Headquarters: Orchard Park, N.Y.
Owner: Towne Auto Group, Franklin and David Downing
Contact: 1 (800) 730-3683
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