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Automobile Dealerships

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I didn't find an appropriate "topic" to post this in, so here's a new one for discussions about automobile dealerships, present and future:

I'm an automobile enthusiast, and so I haven't been able to ignore the new Smart Car (from MB) ramp-up here in the U.S. I went to their website, curious about how many dealerships were online at launch. I guess I'm not altogether surprised that Little Rock isn't included, but I was surprised to find NO dealership in Memphis or Nashville, but there is one in Jackson, MS strangely enough. Any word about this?

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Regarding current manufacturers not present in Little Rock, I'm a little more than surprised that the following haven't been available in our market for some time, though they both once were quite viable dealerships:

1 - Porsche

2 - Saab

I'm not surprised about Saab, since they're sales and product line has been lacking for some time, obviously lessening its appeal to a new franchisee. However, I did hear that when Parker was planning their new Audi dealership (Audi is obviously hot...great lineup), GM really gave them the business about providing Saab instead. I am a supporter of GM's ultimate turnaround with great product, but adding Audi was a smart business decision by the Parker Automotive Group.

Porsche? I'm shocked there isn't a dealership here. Riverside Motors successfully carried Porsche alongside Mercedes for years and years (until MB told them that it was Mercedes exclusive or no Mercedes at all!). I would wager that Little Rock is the largest market without a Porsche dealership. I hear it is political, that the dealerships in Memphis, Dallas and Shreveport get a sizable percentage of their business from the LR market, and they don't want it taken away. For some reason, I suppose Porsche agrees. I heard a few years ago that they were looking at putting in an authorized service center, but that has yet to pan out. Strange.....

Adding these 2 would really cover the gamut of all non-exotics currently available in the U.S. market. So this wouldn't include Maserati, Bentley/Rolls, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Aston Martin (my favorite), etc. - none of which are realistic for our market (though surprisingly, Tulsa has a Maserati dealership, or at least it did have).

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I think that we don't have a Porshe dealership for the same reason we don't have a Macy's; Investors assume there is no money here, or at least not a sizable enough market to support a dealership. One thing is such a dealership wouldn't get much support outside of Little Rock or NWA. Most rural Arkansans drive pickup trucks, minivans, or SUVs.

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I think that we don't have a Porshe dealership for the same reason we don't have a Macy's; Investors assume there is no money here, or at least not a sizable enough market to support a dealership. One thing is such a dealership wouldn't get much support outside of Little Rock or NWA. Most rural Arkansans drive pickup trucks, minivans, or SUVs.

Eh, Macy's isn't what it used to be. They don't build stores just in large, wealthy markets anymore... they build them everywhere now. Well, everywhere but Shreveport and Little Rock I suppose. ;)

But seriously, we have had a Porsche dealership {Moffitt Porsche} here for as long as I can remember (I'll be 28 years old in 1 month) and we have no Macy's. We had a Porsche dealership here even when our economy was extremely sour in the 80s. We also had a Lamborghini dealership until the late 80s. Obviously the Lamborghini dealership was here because of the huge amounts of oil money in the late 70s and early 80s, and it left this area right along with the oil money. I recall Lamborghinis being fairly common on the streets here in the 80s. I was quite impressed by that car when I was a child, and I recall seeing them out and about quite a few times. But really, if you have Lexus, Mercedes, and Jaguar dealerships, your market can support a Porsche dealership.

With Little Rock being so heavy on government, there should be a whole lot more money in the Little Rock market than in the Shreveport market, so there's no clear reason why you wouldn't have a Porsche dealership... really. The right person just hasn't taken a liking to the brand, apparently. Isn't Landers based in Little Rock? I'm really surprised they don't own a Porsche dealership. They're a pretty good-sized dealership chain... they moved into this market a couple years ago so they are pretty far-reaching.

Again, there is no reason your market shouldn't have a Porsche dealership. If the Porsche dealership in Shreveport can stay in business for decades, no doubt one could be successful in Little Rock as well.

Edited by SBCmetroguy

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Eh, Macy's isn't what it used to be. They don't build stores just in large, wealthy markets anymore... they build them everywhere now. Well, everywhere but Shreveport and Little Rock I suppose. ;)

But seriously, we have had a Porsche dealership {Moffitt Porsche} here for as long as I can remember (I'll be 28 years old in 1 month) and we have no Macy's. We had a Porsche dealership here even when our economy was extremely sour in the 80s. We also had a Lamborghini dealership until the late 80s. Obviously the Lamborghini dealership was here because of the huge amounts of oil money in the late 70s and early 80s, and it left this area right along with the oil money. I recall Lamborghinis being fairly common on the streets here in the 80s. I was quite impressed by that car when I was a child, and I recall seeing them out and about quite a few times. But really, if you have Lexus, Mercedes, and Jaguar dealerships, your market can support a Porsche dealership.

With Little Rock being so heavy on government, there should be a whole lot more money in the Little Rock market than in the Shreveport market, so there's no clear reason why you wouldn't have a Porsche dealership... really. The right person just hasn't taken a liking to the brand, apparently. Isn't Landers based in Little Rock? I'm really surprised they don't own a Porsche dealership. They're a pretty good-sized dealership chain... they moved into this market a couple years ago so they are pretty far-reaching.

Again, there is no reason your market shouldn't have a Porsche dealership. If the Porsche dealership in Shreveport can stay in business for decades, no doubt one could be successful in Little Rock as well.

I agree with your observations. Shreveport is but just one example of a similar market that does have a viable Porsche dealer - and there are other even smaller markets which makes this all the more peculiar that Little Rock does not.

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I didn't find an appropriate "topic" to post this in, so here's a new one for discussions about automobile dealerships, present and future:

I'm an automobile enthusiast, and so I haven't been able to ignore the new Smart Car (from MB) ramp-up here in the U.S. I went to their website, curious about how many dealerships were online at launch. I guess I'm not altogether surprised that Little Rock isn't included, but I was surprised to find NO dealership in Memphis or Nashville, but there is one in Jackson, MS strangely enough. Any word about this?

Yeah I guess it just happens where people jump on board with the idea. I read something recently about an Arkansas couple who bought one. I was thinking it was somewhere in north central Arkansas. I was thinking it said they bought theirs in Springfield or somewhere in southern Missouri.

I agree with your observations. Shreveport is but just one example of a similar market that does have a viable Porsche dealer - and there are other even smaller markets which makes this all the more peculiar that Little Rock does not.

Yeah I haven't figured out why Shreveport has what it does while Arkansas doesn't. I can maybe see why NWA doesn't, being sorta fragmented. But I would certainly think Little Rock is big enough and centralized to have more.

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Yeah I haven't figured out why Shreveport has what it does while Arkansas doesn't. I can maybe see why NWA doesn't, being sorta fragmented. But I would certainly think Little Rock is big enough and centralized to have more.

What really surprises me is that even Jackson, MS has a Porsche dealership. Jackson and LR are very similar markets in terms of size, demographics, and location in a state typically neglected by high end business.

Edited by bchris02

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What really surprises me is that even Jackson, MS has a Porsche dealership. Jackson and LR are very similar markets in terms of size, demographics, and location in a state typically neglected by high end business.

While I think in the broad sense you are right about the comparison to Jackson and Mississippi, it should be noted that Little Rock's MSA and general demographics exceed Jackson's by a significant measure, which makes this even more puzzling (this is also true in comparison with Shreveport - even more so). For comparison:

.................................................Little Rock......Jackson.....Shreveport

MSA..........................................653,000........529,000......375,000

CSA..........................................829,000........557,000......428,000

Median Household Income....$37,000.......$30,000......$30,000

Median Family Income..........$47,000.......$36,000......$37,000

Per Capita Income................$23,200.........$17,000......$17,800

This data shows a significant separation between Little Rock and the two others in terms of both population and even more so with income (note: income data was for each city proper, not the MSA). A few items of note:

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What really surprises me is that even Jackson, MS has a Porsche dealership. Jackson and LR are very similar markets in terms of size, demographics, and location in a state typically neglected by high end business.

I don't see Little Rock having a stand alone Porsche dealer. The one vehicle, not in our market, that surprises me is the Mini Cooper. There're owned by BMW, why doesn't BMW of Little Rock carry this line? Roadshow BMW in Memphis has the Mini, why not here?

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I don't see Little Rock having a stand alone Porsche dealer. The one vehicle, not in our market, that surprises me is the Mini Cooper. There're owned by BMW, why doesn't BMW of Little Rock carry this line? Roadshow BMW in Memphis has the Mini, why not here?

I agree with you about Mini Cooper, and I should have included it on my original list with Porsche and Saab.

However, I completely disagree with your opinion about Porsche. I think the point has been made by several people/posts above that Porsche can be found in numerous markets which are both smaller and lower income than Little Rock. Again, why would you think Little Rock couldn't support a Porsche dealer? I know lots of people, including my best friend who drive a Porsche in spite of not having a dealer....those numbers would skyrocket should a dealer locate here (note the massive increase of Audi since Parker opened their dealership 5 or so years ago).

[Note: When Mercedes Benz kicked Porsche out of Riverside Motors showroom in the early 1990's, this was a low point in Porsches product and sales history, which invariably impacted the interest - or lack thereof - of another dealership picking up the franchise. They were very much a niche player at that time with a tired lineup and minimal sales. This, of course, has radically changed in the ensuing years with top-tier product and expanded models including the Cayenne and the Cayman.]

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While I think in the broad sense you are right about the comparison to Jackson and Mississippi, it should be noted that Little Rock's MSA and general demographics exceed Jackson's by a significant measure, which makes this even more puzzling (this is also true in comparison with Shreveport - even more so). For comparison:

.................................................Little Rock......Jackson.....Shreveport

MSA..........................................653,000........529,000......375,000

CSA..........................................829,000........557,000......428,000

Median Household Income....$37,000.......$30,000......$30,000

Median Family Income..........$47,000.......$36,000......$37,000

Per Capita Income................$23,200.........$17,000......$17,800

This data shows a significant separation between Little Rock and the two others in terms of both population and even more so with income (note: income data was for each city proper, not the MSA). A few items of note:

Edited by bchris02

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I totally agree with you here. LR has a lot going for it Jackson does not. I didn't mean LR in actuality was similar to Jackson. However, both cities suffer from the same perception problem and I am not sure what role that plays in this. What really surprised me is how well LR stacks up vs. Des Moines.

Des Moines

MSA..................................534,230

Median Household Income...$38,400

Median Family Income........$46,600

Per Capita Income.............$19,400

Wow, that is impressive. For some reason, I always conceptualized Des Moines as being a step above Little Rock as far as quality of life...

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I totally agree with you here. LR has a lot going for it Jackson does not. I didn't mean LR in actuality was similar to Jackson. However, both cities suffer from the same perception problem and I am not sure what role that plays in this. What really surprised me is how well LR stacks up vs. Des Moines.

Des Moines

MSA..................................534,230

Median Household Income...$38,400

Median Family Income........$46,600

Per Capita Income.............$19,400

I knew what you meant and I agree, that the typical Arkansas stereotype is often the perception - much like what most Mississippians endure I'm sure. Little do people know that Little Rock and NWA are, truthfully, oases in a relatively rural, poor state.

Also, yes, the comparison with Des Moines is impressive. Des Moines is a VERY cool town, very urban/sophisticated, large downtown. In some ways, its a much better comparison for LR than Jackson (and similar in that its also the largest city in the state, central location, state capitol, etc.). Also, its impressive when you consider that Iowans are some of the highest educated and literate people in the U.S.

Another striking comparison between Des Moines & Little Rock. New housing permits and value (2006): Little Rock, 827 buildings, average cost: $243,700. Des Moines (2006), 287 buildings, average cost: $182,400.

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I agree with you about Mini Cooper, and I should have included it on my original list with Porsche and Saab.

However, I completely disagree with your opinion about Porsche. I think the point has been made by several people/posts above that Porsche can be found in numerous markets which are both smaller and lower income than Little Rock. Again, why would you think Little Rock couldn't support a Porsche dealer? I know lots of people, including my best friend who drive a Porsche in spite of not having a dealer....those numbers would skyrocket should a dealer locate here (note the massive increase of Audi since Parker opened their dealership 5 or so years ago).

[Note: When Mercedes Benz kicked Porsche out of Riverside Motors showroom in the early 1990's, this was a low point in Porsches product and sales history, which invariably impacted the interest - or lack thereof - of another dealership picking up the franchise. They were very much a niche player at that time with a tired lineup and minimal sales. This, of course, has radically changed in the ensuing years with top-tier product and expanded models including the Cayenne and the Cayman.]

I don't doubt that you could sell a good many Porsche in Little Rock. My point was that a stand alone, Porsche only dealership would have a hard row to hoe. I agree that they have a number of fine products but the cost of establishing a new operation for the potential volume doesn't look viable to me. I suspect that Porsche is in existing, multi-line dealerships in the cities mentioned in this thread.

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I don't doubt that you could sell a good many Porsche in Little Rock. My point was that a stand alone, Porsche only dealership would have a hard row to hoe. I agree that they have a number of fine products but the cost of establishing a new operation for the potential volume doesn't look viable to me. I suspect that Porsche is in existing, multi-line dealerships in the cities mentioned in this thread.

Sorry! Yes, emphasis on "stand alone" - my apology! I agree! Very few Porsche dealerships are stand alone, even the two I've visited in Dallas. I wouldn't expect nor was I stating that it should be stand alone, just that I'm surprised it isn't in the market at any dealership.

For the longest time, and yet still, Porsche is often paired with Audi - a sister company. Consequently, I was indirectly familiar with the goings-on with Parker Audi when it started up. Rumor was that the initial intent was Audi/Porsche, but that was about the time that Porsche had begun a change in policy to de-couple with Audi so that its product would have a higher profile. Yet again, Little Rock was a victim of bad timing! I think if Audi had entered the market 3-4 years prior, you would have seen Porsche as well.

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Sorry! Yes, emphasis on "stand alone" - my apology! I agree! Very few Porsche dealerships are stand alone, even the two I've visited in Dallas. I wouldn't expect nor was I stating that it should be stand alone, just that I'm surprised it isn't in the market at any dealership.

For the longest time, and yet still, Porsche is often paired with Audi - a sister company. Consequently, I was indirectly familiar with the goings-on with Parker Audi when it started up. Rumor was that the initial intent was Audi/Porsche, but that was about the time that Porsche had begun a change in policy to de-couple with Audi so that its product would have a higher profile. Yet again, Little Rock was a victim of bad timing! I think if Audi had entered the market 3-4 years prior, you would have seen Porsche as well.

Why doesn't Asbury bring in Porsche to their Volkswagen dealership? Porsche owns a large amount of VW stock and I'd think having the two in the same house would be a goal. Except for their SUVs they don't have competing lines so the two seem like a natural fit. Of course Asbury hasn't put the Mini in BMW of LR. Do you have any idea why? The VW operation in NLR is small and perhaps they don't feel there's enough room. I think a combined Porsche/VW dealership in LR would do well especially VW.

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Sorry! Yes, emphasis on "stand alone" - my apology! I agree! Very few Porsche dealerships are stand alone, even the two I've visited in Dallas. I wouldn't expect nor was I stating that it should be stand alone, just that I'm surprised it isn't in the market at any dealership.

For the longest time, and yet still, Porsche is often paired with Audi - a sister company. Consequently, I was indirectly familiar with the goings-on with Parker Audi when it started up. Rumor was that the initial intent was Audi/Porsche, but that was about the time that Porsche had begun a change in policy to de-couple with Audi so that its product would have a higher profile. Yet again, Little Rock was a victim of bad timing! I think if Audi had entered the market 3-4 years prior, you would have seen Porsche as well.

My wife bought her Audi at Boardwalk in Plano and it has Audi/Porsche and a few exotics like Lambourghini and Maserati. I thought that Audi/Porsche combo would fit well at Parker.

I know several Porsche owners and they told me the Memphis dealers lobby hard to keep LR from getting a dealership as it is a significant chunk of their business, though I know a lot of people that go to DFW that own them.

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My wife bought her Audi at Boardwalk in Plano and it has Audi/Porsche and a few exotics like Lambourghini and Maserati. I thought that Audi/Porsche combo would fit well at Parker.

I know several Porsche owners and they told me the Memphis dealers lobby hard to keep LR from getting a dealership as it is a significant chunk of their business, though I know a lot of people that go to DFW that own them.

What type of Audi does she drive? I had a '98 A4 1.8T for about six years and loved it, and now drive an '06 BMW 330i...truth be known, I had more affection for the Audi.

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What type of Audi does she drive? I had a '98 A4 1.8T for about six years and loved it, and now drive an '06 BMW 330i...truth be known, I had more affection for the Audi.

A4 2.0T. I love it and it gets 34 MPG.

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A4 2.0T. I love it and it gets 34 MPG.

Great car. The all new (larger) A4 comes out later this year....

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Arkansas Business is reporting that Riverside Motors (Mercedes) has purchased property at I-430/Colonel Glenn as previously discussed/rumored at this site. Frankly, I'm surprised that they would move the dealership to that location since their current facility is only 5-6 years old, and likely more centric to their client base. However, I'm sure that the visibility/accessibility along the freeway is quite tempting, though I don't imagine too many MB purchases are spur-of-the-moment..."Oh look honey, a Mercedes dealer!" kinda thing. I wonder if the fact that Win is no longer with us a part of the equation....

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Arkansas Business is reporting that Riverside Motors (Mercedes) has purchased property at I-430/Colonel Glenn as previously discussed/rumored at this site. Frankly, I'm surprised that they would move the dealership to that location since their current facility is only 5-6 years old, and likely more centric to their client base. However, I'm sure that the visibility/accessibility along the freeway is quite tempting, though I don't imagine too many MB purchases are spur-of-the-moment..."Oh look honey, a Mercedes dealer!" kinda thing. I wonder if the fact that Win is no longer with us a part of the equation....

Maybe the current Mercedes dealership can make way for a Mini dealership (or Porsche for that matter).

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Maybe the current Mercedes dealership can make way for a Mini dealership (or Porsche for that matter).

I had the same thought, or even Saab, but all highly unlikely in stand-alone fashion - and those 3 don't pair together. All 3 of those are relatively low-volume, especially for Little Rock; and, they are often paired with other franchises in even larger markets (off-shoot example: rumor had it that GM REALLY wanted Parker to pick up Saab instead of Audi. Good call Dave Parker. Furthermore, no way Porsche comes outside of Audi - even though they officially aren't dating anymore).

If it were to happen (at some location in LR), my order of preference:

1 - Porsche (really, really crazy that they aren't here currently)

2 - Mini

3 - Saab

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Arkansas Business is reporting that Riverside Motors (Mercedes) has purchased property at I-430/Colonel Glenn as previously discussed/rumored at this site. Frankly, I'm surprised that they would move the dealership to that location since their current facility is only 5-6 years old, and likely more centric to their client base. However, I'm sure that the visibility/accessibility along the freeway is quite tempting, though I don't imagine too many MB purchases are spur-of-the-moment..."Oh look honey, a Mercedes dealer!" kinda thing. I wonder if the fact that Win is no longer with us a part of the equation....

I totally agree with you. With Win Rockefeller's death who controls the dealership?

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Ark Business mentioned that Carmax is looking to put a location in on Col Glenn. This is a mega-dealership that is common in larger metros and takes away the typical negotiation process for cars in return for lower prices. It would employ 100. All in all, it would be a nice alternate choice for LR.

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