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Wednesday, Jun 12, 2024

Galpin’s New Race

Galpin Motors is opening a new Volkswagen dealership in North Hills with the goal of eventually becoming a top seller of the car brand in the nation. The move expands the family business’s car brand portfolio and reflects the German automaker’s aggressive sales strategy in the United States. Volkswagen of America Inc. representatives say they reached out to Galpin Motors for the opportunity because of the company’s strong reputation in the automotive industry. The Boeckmann family, which heads Galpin Motors, is expecting to open the dealership within the coming weeks. It will be located at the company’s former Saturn dealership, which closed after General Motors decided to shut down its Saturn brand in 2009, said Brad Boeckmann, vice president of Galpin Motors and son of Galpin Motors’ owner and president Bert Boeckmann. The new dealership is located at 15421 Roscoe Blvd. It joins nine other dealerships that Galpin Motors owns in the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys. Brad Boeckmann said the new dealership likely will attract people who wouldn’t typically shop at Galpin locations. “People that like Volkswagens are extremely loyal that brand,” he said. “If we didn’t have Volkswagen, we wouldn’t see those customers.” He added, “We’re really looking to be one of the top Volkswagen stores in a very short period of time based on our sales history with the other brands.” Indeed, Galpin Motors will face some stiff competition on its quest to the top. It will have to surpass sales of South Florida dealerships, owned by the Gunther family, which has long reigned as the pacesetter among Volkswagen of America’s dealerships. Plus, it will have to top at least four other Southern California dealerships that recently earned a place on Volkswagen of America’s list of top 10 dealerships. Galpin service Brad Boeckmann, who will serve as the dealership’s vice president, said there will likely be a need to construct a larger building for the Volkswagen dealership within the next couple of years —after Galpin officials have gauged sales activity. Sales volume will also help determine whether they decide to keep the dealership at that location or move elsewhere. The dealership will start out with an inventory of about 480 new cars, plus additional used cars, Boeckmann said. “What they’ve got us planed for is a planning volume of 1,102 (new) vehicles per year, but we feel we’re going to do certainly much better than that,” Boeckmann said, noting that he expects the dealership will sell at least 100 new cars a month. Mike Schwartz, the dealership’s new general manager and Galpin Motors’ former director of finance, said the goal is to secure its customer base by providing the company’s usual high-quality customer service. “The key is going to be creating that Galpin experience,” he said. “For anyone who knows Galpin, it’s just a different buying experience — the way that we treat our customers and the way that we go about doing business.” Schwartz said Galpin Motors is currently the No. 1 seller for Ford and Jaguar in the United States and the No. 1 seller for Mazda and Lincoln for the West Coast. ‘A Great Candidate’ Those rankings are part of what got Volkswagen interested in Galpin Motors, Volkswagen of America officials said. “Bert Boeckmann is a legend in the automotive dealer community,” said Charles Kim, general manager for dealer network development for Volkswagen of America’s Pacific region. “He’s been the largest Ford dealer in the world 22 years in a row, has multiple franchises and represents all the brands well. … He was a great candidate.” Taking this into account, the automaker extended an invitation to its headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany. Kim said Volkswagen selects auto industry professionals to visit an annual event at the headquarters each year to learn about opportunities for opening new dealerships for its brand in the U.S. Beau Boeckmann, who is also Bert Boeckmann’s son, attended the conference. He is now president of the new dealership, along with being a vice president of Galpin Motors. Volkswagen’s outreach to auto dealers is part of a much larger growth strategy that targets the United States. The car manufacturer has a goal of selling 800,000 new Volkswagens per year in the United States in 2018, up from 324,402 last year, according to Volkswagen officials. Kim says Volkswagen is always evaluating dealers and locations that can help the company achieve that goal. “The Southern California market, in particular Los Angeles, is arguably the strongest car market in the U.S.,” he said. “So absolutely every part of it — especially the San Fernando Valley and the surrounding area — has a very strong car culture (and) very big car market.” As for the Boeckmanns’ goal of becoming one of the top Volkswagen sellers in the nation, Volkswagen officials say they already have a good amount of competition. From January through June, four other Southern California Volkswagen dealers have already made it within top 10 rankings for sales of Volkswagen cars in the United States. Volkswagen Santa Monica came in third place, Commonwealth Volkswagen in Santa Ana came in fourth, McKenna Motors Cerritos came in sixth and Volkswagen of Downtown L.A. came in seventh, according to data provided by Volkswagen of America officials. Gunther VW of Coconut Creek and Gunther Volkswagen, both in Florida, took first and second place. “The challenge, I think, for Galpin is they’re used to being the biggest,” Kim said. “Gunther has been the largest for many, many years, so I think we’ll have a fun rivalry between those two dealers and those two regions of the country.”

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