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NATIONAL CITY, Calif. -- Driving a new car off a dealership lot is somewhat of a magical moment. The car smells great, it's spotless, and you feel a mixture of emotions; mostly pride and happiness, but all too often relief.
Relief because the car-buying experience is finally over, and God willing, you will never have to see that salesperson again. In fact, some car buyers bounce from dealership to dealership deterred not by the car model but by the sales staff.
At Frank Subaru in National City, however, you will be relieved to discover a car-buying experience free from annoying, pushy, and rude salespeople.
Frank Subaru’s General Manager, Gino Ajudani, tells San Diego Gay & Lesbian News that when he was approached to manage Frank Subaru, he agreed only if he could completely restructure the sales approach.
"I took everyone off commissions," Ajudani said. "In doing so, I took out the salesmanship part of it and I let my staff be themselves. They are not attached and they do not care whether you buy or not.
"This leads to a more comfortable customer who makes a decision [based] on what they want, instead of being forced or tricked into buying a car they do not want. It is not pushing onto the customers what we have on the lot, or need to sell. If we don’t have the Subaru they want, we can get it built.”
A veteran of the auto industry with more than 30 years of experience, Ajundani is so determined to set a new customer service standard that he also hired salespeople with no previous car sales experience.
"I trained everyone myself," he said. "We have no bad habits at Frank Subaru. We do not have car sales people, but rather customer relations specialists."
The new Frank Subaru opened its doors in December 2010, and already Ajundani has received several customer testimonials praising the Frank Subaru sales staff.
"Customers tell me that we are so different from other dealerships. Other salespeople want to know right away if they are going to buy or not. At Frank Subaru, part of our 120% customer service standard means we will do everything in our power for customers.
"You can view and test drive all of the vehicles with no badgering. We treat people with courtesy, and that is why everyone loves us. We really have the best cars and the best people."
Ajundani has every right to brag, but you don't have to just take his word for it. Customer testimonials are available online, and not one customer has given Frank Subaru less than five stars. In fact, since he took over the dealership, the average monthly sales have increased from 17 cars to 54. He credits that success to customer service.
"I can always pick up the phone and order another a car, but I can’t pick up the phone and order a customer anywhere. If I sell you a car, and you are happy, you will tell two to three friends.
"And that’s how we get referrals. We win, but more importantly, my customers win."
The Subaru Brand
Ajundani is a blunt, yet charismatic man, who within minutes of meeting you makes you feel like an old friend. He truly enjoys interacting with people, and ultimately making them happy.
"I love selling cars, it really is my passion," Ajundani said. "When I see a happy car customer it makes my day. I have always been like this. I have no BS in me. I cut to the chase and offer the best deal."
For Ajundani, the best deal has always been a Subaru.
"I enjoy the safety standards and the longevity a Subaru provides for my clients," he said. "I can sell a Subaru without having the fear that the car will break down in a year or two, these cars remain on the road year after year.
"In addition to the safety factor, there is also the resale value of Subaru cars. Kelly Bluebook recently named Subaru cars as the those with the highest resale value, and the residual on the lease is the highest in the market. Because of these reasons, it is so hard to find used Subarus because owners don’t want to let them go. They hold onto them forever."
He also stated that in states like Colorado and Maine, where there is real tough terrain, the Subaru really shines because its all-wheel-drive is unparalleled.
When it comes to picking a Subaru model, Ajundani goes with the customer favorite – the Subaru Outback.
"The Outback can accommodate everything that a family needs, it gives you the flexibility of an SUV, and it’s the safest car on the planet, it’s like a tank," Ajundani said. "It will go places that not too many cars can go.
"Its off road capability is perfect for the sports-minded customer. Everything from bikes, kayaks, snowboards, and surfboards can fit into the car. It is amazing."
He is so confident of the Outback’s features, that he insists all it takes is ten minutes behind the wheel and the car sells itself.
"Nothing, absolutely nothing in the market will compete or compare with the Outback’s safety, drivability, handling, price and price," he added. "It has the highest safety rating across the board, and it is the only car in its class that has passed the roof crash test."
The roof crash test consists of dropping a concrete block at a 40-degree angle over the driver’s side of the car. Many cars are crushed. If there was a person behind the wheel instead of a crash test dummy it would likely result in the person’s death – but not the Subaru models. They do not cave.
This safety feature is a result of the ring-shaped reinforcement frame of high tensile steel, in addition to advanced airbags for both the driver and the passengers.
To learn more about Subaru’s superb engineering click here.
Frank Subaru’s Commitment to LGBT Community & San Diego at Large
Subaru prides itself on being a good corporate citizen. Across the nation, Subaru dealerships sponsor community organizations and its employees take part in projects, such as helping to build homes for Habitat for Humanity.
Although Frank Subaru is a new edition to National City’s "Mile of Cars," it is already preparing to sponsor several events across California, including several LGBT events.
"When I was at the Subaru on Balboa, we used to provide cars for the Pride parade," Ajundani said. "This year I want to participate in as many events as possible, not just to support the LGBT community, but all of San Diego County."
Frank Subaru was a proud sponsor of San Diego Gay & Lesbian News’ recent Equality Mixer, held this past Feb. 10 at Eden.
At the corporate level, Subaru will once again be sponsoring Dining Out for Life, a nationwide AIDS benefit, scheduled to take place on April 28.
In addition to supporting the community, Frank Subaru wants to go the extra mile for San Diego Gay & Lesbian News readers, by offering them special pricing on a new or pre-owned Subaru. Simply print out this business profile or one of Frank Subaru’s banner ads here on SDGLN, and find out what Ajundani can do for you.
The Frank VIP Advantage Program
A new car purchase usually requires financing, and Frank Subaru delivers for clients with good or bad credit.
"Currently on the Foresters we offer 1.9% for up to 72 months. On our other Subaru brands we can get rates as low as 2.9%, it is less than most credit unions," Ajundani said.
"Plus you get deals from me. I think once word gets out, we’re going to start World War III between our dealership and all the others."
Purchasing options at Frank Subaru also include full service and full parts options, but once again, Ajundani wants to go the extra mile.
"We are getting to roll out the Frank VIP advantage program. No other dealership has it," he said.
"Our customers will receive an electronic card, that in addition to Subaru discounts, will open up a world of different services and coupons."
The card will also entitle Subaru owners to discounts at local retailers and other auto dealerships as well. Some of the standard freebies include 24-hour service drop off and towing to any dealership within 25 miles.
"We go beyond the discounts, though. Our customers also receive a personalized thank you from our Frank Subaru owner; that includes not just a message of thanks, but his personal cell number in case you need him to address a problem.
"When have you ever seen a President of a car dealership do that? In all honesty, no dealership in 30 years has ever worked like this. Ever."
While Frank Subaru wraps up renovations throughout the month of February, Ajundani has adopted a temporary motto: "Our dirty mess is a good clean deal for you."
"I encourage buyers to shop around, it makes some feel better, but no one will come close to our deals," he added. "I can sum it all up in two sentences: If you do not buy from us, you probably paid too much. We are up front, honest and have no gimmicks."
For Ajundani and his Frank Subaru staff, those are not just words, those two sentences are posted on every car on the lot.
Next time you are looking for a new car, be sure to stop by Frank Subaru.
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