Vista Auto Group drops Nissan from Glenwood dealership line
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” The auto industry’s struggles have prompted the local Vista Auto Group to terminate its Nissan dealership franchise.
“We decided that, with the number of Nissans we were selling and the current market conditions, we wanted to focus on our three stronger brands,” Vista general manager Rob Edwards said Friday.
Vista also owns the Chevrolet, Subaru and Honda dealerships in Glenwood Springs.
“We feel like we can increase volume, even in these economic times, by focusing on these three stronger brands,” he said.
The closure of the Glenwood Nissan division leaves local Nissan owners with the closest option for dealer parts and service in Grand Junction, at Fuoco Nissan.
Glenwood’s Vista dealerships recently changed locations, with the Chevy lot moving from its former location at 130 Center Drive in West Glenwood to the former Dodge dealership lot at 175 Storm King Drive.
The Dodge dealership, which was owned by Jeff Carlson, closed its doors in November 2008. Carlson is leasing the property to Vista.
Vista combined its Honda and Subaru divisions at the Center Drive location, which it owns, relocating them from the former auto sales lots on Highway 82 in south Glenwood.
After learning earlier this month that it will not be among the Chevy dealerships on the chopping block by General Motors, Vista wanted to give as much attention to its Chevy sales effort as possible.
“We wanted to keep Chevrolet as a strong partner, but they do not like having dual franchises in the same building,” Edwards said. “When you do that, especially since Chevy and Nissan tend to have similar customers, one manufacturer could lose out on sales.
“Because we survived the Chevrolet cutbacks, we felt like we needed to give them a full commitment and not sacrifice any sales.”
One consideration was to put Nissan at the former Rey Motors lot in West Glenwood, which Vista also leases. But that would have required about $250,000 worth of upgrades to bring it up to Nissan’s standards, he said.
“We’ve been wrestling with this for a couple of months now,” he said. “It just came down to the cost of the new building and the level of sales that Nissan was providing.”
Edwards added that Nissan remains a strong partner at other Vista dealer locations around the country, and the local partnership could be re-established in the future.
He said the new Glenwood sales lots had a good Memorial Day weekend.
“We had more traffic than ever before, and people are finding us,” he said. “And customers have been raving about the new facilities.”
A survey showed a good bit of support for local government action to bolster workforce housing in town. For now though, that support stops at supporting a new tax for funding.