DUBLIN -- It’s safe to say Chevrolet’s return here has been a success.
Dublin lost its Chevy dealer in 2009 when General Motors closed more than 1,100 dealerships across the nation.
“It’s been phenomenal. We were selling about 60 new cars a month,” said Lock Wilford, general manager of Dublin Nissan Chevrolet GMC Buick, “We sold 175 units last month.”
GM agreed to come back to town, but with a condition: a new showroom and service center.
“We made an agreement with them that we would build a new building for them and separate them from Nissan,” said Wilford.
Work has begun on the new $2.5 million showroom on Veterans Boulevard, with steel beams popping up within the last week or so. It’s expected to be completed in December.
In the meantime, the dealership has hired about 20 new employees since it started selling Chevy vehicles. Wilford expects to hire about 20 more once the new building opens. It will include eight bays in the service area, which means the dealership will need to hire six new technicians, he said.
“It’s an added plus for Dublin to have GM back here,” said Wilford. “The tax base it brings to our county is phenomenal. It’s amazing to go from 60 to 175 retail deals. These are not wholesale. These are one-at-a-time customers buying cars.”
When GM targeted the dealerships for closure, Dublin’s Frank Andrews Chevrolet was one of them, as it shut down in May 2009 after 84 years. As part of GM’s restructuring, the automaker also stopped delivering Buick and GMC vehicles to Dublin Nissan GMC Buick, forcing Wilford and staff to get creative. They were able to continue marketing the lines, which allowed them to turn to area dealers and sister dealerships in Kingsland and in Florida to find new cars for customers until reaching the agreement with GM.
Once the new Chevrolet showroom opens, the dealership will put its used cars “sandwiched between the two buildings,” said Wilford. Then work will begin on the current showroom and service center to make it “Nissan ready.”
“We’ll put a whole new face on it,” Wilford said. “This is a dated building. There’s not a lot we can do with it, but we’ll put a little makeup on it. It’s a sizeable project.”
That work is expected to be finished in March or April.