Craig dealers unhappy about auto tent event
August 19, 2010
Craig resident Danny Wells was at looking for a Toyota 4Runner at a tent sale at the Kmart parking lot Wednesday.
Wells said he received a flier in the mail about the sale, and wanted to "come see what they had."
As he browsed the car selection, Wells said he is loyal to the Toyota brand, but sometimes has to shop in Glenwood Springs or Denver to find cars made by the company.
"I will pay more to shop locally," he said. "I have a real loyalty toward shopping locally."
But, Wells said the local auto dealerships — Cook Chevrolet and Subaru, Craig Ford, and Victory Motors of Craig — might not be happy with the tent sale setting up shop in Craig.
"They're not going to like it," he said. "I can't imagine why they would.
"The customers might be pretty happy about it."
Jerry Thompson, co-owner of Craig Ford, said he wasn't pleased about a tent sale coming to town.
"(The salesmen) use extremely high-pressure tactics," he said. "There is just a lot of people that, once they get them under their wing, that aren't firm enough to stand up and say, 'No.'
"And they'll just put people in vehicles and just bury them, and they have no conscious at all."
There are about 70 used vehicles for sale at the event, which started Tuesday and will continue through Saturday, said Todd Montgomery, owner of the Ohio-based G&A Marketing, which organized the event. About 20 vehicles had been sold as of Wednesday afternoon, he said.
Montgomery said this is the company's first time coming to Craig to sell cars from Grand Valley Auto of Grand Junction.
"We want to help the people to get in a car that they can afford," he said.
Kevin Fleek, a sales associate from Seattle who was working the tent event, contends the car dealers in Craig don't have "a lot of used car inventory."
"That is what I have been hearing from a lot of the customers that I have talked to, that it is nice to have someone come in and bring in some used vehicles," he said.
Thompson disagreed, citing local dealerships' access to used cars from other locations.
"Between the three of us as dealers, if we don't have a new or used car on the ground that people are looking for right at the time, within a two-day period we can generally come up with it from some place," he said.
Fleek said the event was about "trying to keep the economy moving."
"They think that we are in their area and it's hurting them," Fleek said of local car dealerships. "But, it kind of helps them because it is actually bringing people out, is what is happening."
Scott Cook, co-owner of Cook Chevrolet and Subaru, said the event is "an exact opposite" of an economic boost.
"How would that be an economic boost, if someone from outside our area comes in and sells something to someone and leaves?" he said.
Cook contends tent sales like the one currently in Craig "create a lot of problems with local people."
"Those people will be here for four or five days, and those people will never be back in Craig again," he said. "They are not going to bump into their customers at the grocery store or at the soccer game or anything like that, so they have no accountability for anything they say or do."
"As local dealers, if we have to see people every day, we want to make sure they come back, and (the tent sale people) don't worry too much about that," he said. "They basically give our business a bad name."
Thompson said would rather not have similar events come back to the area.
"With they way they operate, I'd prefer they never come back," he said. "You can't stop them from coming back, but they sure aren't good for anybody's business."