By Suzanne Laurent
August 29, 2012 9:47 AM
Chevrolet opened last month in a new gleaming state-of-the-art, eco-friendly facility at the city's traffic circle.
"It's great to have the company here," said Brad Solomon, director of business development for the Key Auto Group.
Portsmouth Chevrolet is part of the Key Auto Group that also includes the Portsmouth Used Car Superstore, Key Auto Center in Somersworth, and Salem Ford Hyundai in Salem.
"It's a prime location for selling cars made in America, in a great city," Solomon said.
The new two-story, 40,000-square-foot facility at 549 Route 1 Bypass was built by Whitcher Builders based in Strafford. The old dealership at 2025 Woodbury Avenue in Newington will become a used car processing facility, Solomon said.
The lot holds more than
400 vehicles and all new cars are $1,000 less than the invoice price.
"We want our customers to know up front how much we are asking for the car," Solomon said. "The sales staff is trained to be discrete and let the customer look around."
Solomon said the larger facility will bring new jobs to the community in both the service and sales departments. Beginning in October, the entire facility will be open for business 13 hours a day, six days a week.
"We hope to increase this to seven days a week," said service manager Walter Ferrara.
The service area has 21 bays including three re-alignment pads.
"This is a self-contained department," Ferrara said. "We use air and water lifts instead of hydraulics."
Ferrara said the
hydraulic lifts in the old facility used 210-volt batteries that ran on
"We also recycle all of our waste materials," he said.
The building itself is heated with waste oil from the service department. The service area has radiant flooring and there are tinted windows in the showroom to keep out sun glare.
"We use a parts washer that contains micro-organisms that break down oil," Ferrara said. "It's called a smart washer."
Portsmouth Chevrolet was chosen as one of fewer than 200 dealers out of 44,000 to participate in the General Motors workbench pilot program that allows customers to go any service shop in the country and all of their information is available. A full analysis of each car sold at Portsmouth Chevrolet is electronically stored.
"We just had a customer visiting the area with a 2007 car that had a water pump failure," Ferrara said. "We were able to see by his record, that the pump had a lifetime warranty and repaired it at no cost to him."
The spacious waiting room has free Wi-Fi, two large flat-screen televisions and a children's play area.
The dealership held a grand opening celebration this past Saturday that Solomon said was a huge success.
"We had about 400 adults and 100 kids show up," he said.
Solomon said the location of the dealership is ideal for community events.
"We may poll our Facebook fans to see which charity they would like to see us hold a charity bash for in the future," he said.
AT A GLANCE
Address: 549 Route 1 Bypass, at the Portsmouth traffic circle
By LIZ MARKHLEVSKAYA
PORTSMOUTH Just a few weeks after a Chevrolet dealership moves into its new
facility, prospective customers eye the vehicles showcased during the official
grand opening event Saturday.
"Chevy is my favorite make so I had to come down here," said 25-year-old Shane Jacobson, of Seabrook, Mass., who claims the Chevrolet Silverado is the best pickup truck on the road.
Throughout the afternoon, bounce houses and balloons, as well as free lunch offered by The Meat House, drew visitors to the grand opening event near the Portsmouth traffic circle, which has hundreds of new Chevys already on display.
In front of the newly constructed, two-story, 40,000-square-foot facility stood the new model of Chevrolet Camaro, a black convertible ? offered $1,000 below invoice price.
Jacobson, upon seeing the Camaro, said, "I think it's the best car."
Rob Chidester, of Portsmouth, said the event had "one huge turnout."
He said in the future, he hopes to buy a new vehicle, and leans toward Chevy.
"They run good, they last, they're worth the value," said Chidester.
Portsmouth Chevrolet has nearly 400 cars, about 300 of which are new Chevrolets, said sales manager Curt Sylvia. The preowned cars are available in various makes and models.
Portsmouth Chevrolet, located at 549 Route 1 Bypass, is part of the Key Auto Group, which also includes Portsmouth Used Car Superstore, Key Auto Center in Somersworth, and Salem Ford Hyundai in Salem, N.H.
John Viola, of Somersworth, was among a long line of people waiting to sample lunch from The Meat House at the grand opening event.
Viola said he already bought three vehicles from Key Auto Group in the past, and now he wants to buy a pickup truck, possibly from Portsmouth Chevrolet.
"I prefer Chevy," said Viola. "I have always had Chevy."
Speaking about the Key Auto Group, Viola said, "I like the way they treat their customers."
In addition to the new cars showcased, multiple antique cars were displayed.
Arthur Cole, of Tewksbury, Mass., brought his 1975 Chevrolet Silverado, painted in the scheme of the American flag. Cole said the car was built for shows, and only has about 9,000 miles on it.
Cole, a disabled veteran of Vietnam, said he enjoys taking the car out for parades, on occasions such as Memorial Day and Fourth of July.
"It's been a good morale boost for me, with my PTSD," he said. "It makes me feel good to have kids go out and look at it."