News From Terre Haute, Indiana

February 3, 2013

Sullivan Automotive Group first new vehicle dealership in Valley to offer extended service hours

Howard Greninger
The Tribune-Star

SULLIVAN — Need automotive service or repair work, but service centers are closed on Sundays?

No more.

The Sullivan Automotive Group starting today is offering Sunday automotive service hours, open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is the first new vehicle dealership in the Wabash Valley to offer the extended service.

And as a kickoff to the service, the dealership is offering a $4.95 oil change and tire rotation on Sundays in February, said Richard D. Cox, president of Sullivan Automotive Group.

“I remember as a kid, both my parents worked,” Cox said. “My father worked at a stamping plant in Chicago for Ford and my mother worked outside the home during the day as well.

“Back then, service departments were only open Monday through Friday and back then, Saturday hours were something special when dealerships had them. My parents had to take a day off work to get their cars into the service department,” Cox said.

“We are opening on Sunday for customer convenience. Many people are still working on Saturdays or are running around with their kids and don’t have time to get their cars in. This gives another window of opportunity to get their vehicle into a new car dealership with a certified service area and certified technicians,” Cox said.

Sullivan Automotive also has added a new 3,000-square-foot enclosed service drive. The large two-bay drive allows customers to pull inside and meet with technicians at a service desk.

A 2012 survey from AutoMD.com, a car repair rating site, found that 78 percent of more than 4,000 people polled are keeping their vehicles for more than 10 years before buying a new car.

Also, the average age of the cars and trucks on U.S. roads hit a record 10.8 years as of July, 2011, according to the Polk research firm, which studied state vehicle registrations. That’s up from 10.6 years in 2010. In 1995, the average age of a car on U.S. roads was 8.4 years, according to Polk.

“Our service business was up 13 percent last year and is continuing to grow because people are servicing their cars, which allows them to last longer, and cars are built to last longer,” Cox said.

“The reason we built this [service drive] and are open on Sundays is for customer service,” said Cox, adding the Sullivan Automotive Group is the only dealership in the Wabash Valley that sells seven manufacturers in one facility — Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Ram trucks.

In addition to Sunday service, the dealership is in its second year of sponsoring organizations by donating $50 for every vehicle sold each Friday and $1 per oil change and tire rotation from its service center, said Joe Mascari, general manager of Sullivan Automotive Group.

Last year, when the program was only done on the first Friday of each month, almost $1,600 was donated to a cancer foundation at the Sullivan Community Hospital, a fund that helps pay for mammograms and other breast cancer prevention programs, Mascari said.

The dealership also sells T-shirts for $10 with the entire proceeds donated to the organizations, Mascari said. This year, he said, the Friday sales will benefit the Sullivan Community Hospital; Brown Baggers, which feed 132 Sullivan County children on weekends; Shop with A Cop; Toys for Tots; and the Wally King Foundation.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at (812) 231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.com.