The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Local Business

July 4, 2014

Ed Martin opens Nissan dealership in Anderson

ANDERSON, Ind. — The Ed Martin Anderson Automall has added a new franchise to its extensive automobile line, opening a Nissan dealership near the 5400 block of Scatterfield Road, on 53rd Street.

The nearest Nissan dealership to Anderson is in Indianapolis.

“We are very excited to bring another Nissan dealership to Indiana,” said Mark Harrison, president and general manager of Ed Martin Automotive Group, the umbrella organization for all Ed Martin dealerships.

Selling an import vehicle brand in a loyal GM community presents a unique, but not impossible, challenge, said Derek Manis, a general manager at the Ed Martin Anderson Automall.

 “It makes it a lot more difficult,” he said. “The majority of people here are still GM loyal and they are still receiving a pension check from GM.”

But the definition of  what constitutes American-made vehicles is changing, Manis said, as more and more import brands are being built in the United States and American brands are being built in foreign countries.

According to the 2014 American-Made Index, only three of the top 10 vehicles on the list are American brands. Particular vehicles made by Ford, Chevrolet and Dodge qualify as being made in America today.  The other six brands on the list are imports and include Toyota and Honda brands.

“Things are changing and we are breaking into that loyalty,” Manis said. “But it is true — the strongest of loyalty is still found here.”

Madison County residents, however, are not the only customers the dealership serves.

“We also have a good deal of outside traffic,” Manis said. “We are not just selling to people in our back yard.”

He said of the 575 new and used vehicles the dealership sold in June, about 200 were sold to people who live outside of the area.

“We sell cars to people in Avon, Kokomo and Fort Wayne — certainly to lots of people living outside of the city,” Manis said.

With the new line, the Automall can service both new or pre-owned Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Nissan, Toyota and Scion brands.

Manis said having an extensive inventory of vehicles with various colors and being “price aggressive,” allows them to draw from a multi-state region including Ohio, Michigan and Illinois.

 “Ultimately we will have more selection, more new cars to sell and taking in more used cars — it is good for everybody,” he said.

A unique aspect of the Automall, Manis said, is people that are trying to pick between different brands can actually visit one dealership and compare the vehicles side-by-side.

But acquiring a new franchise line is not an easy process.

“The manufacturers want a proven history,” he said, “and it takes money and experience to do it.”

Ten employees have been added with the expansion and Manis said they plan to add an additional five employees to that number.

The Nissan dealership is being temporarily housed in an older building on 53rd Street behind the Cadillac dealership until a new showroom is built, under the guidance of Tom Covey.

Prior to opening the Anderson Nissan location, Covey had worked at the Ed Martin Nissan dealership in Indianapolis and is very familiar with the brand.

“Nissan standards are very, very strict, which is not a bad thing,” he said.

Covey agreed with Manis that said selling an import brand in Anderson, today, is not the same as it was years ago.

“All you have to do is look at Toyota and the amount of cars they are selling,” Covey said.

Like Traci L. Moyer on Facebook and follow her @moyyer on Twitter, or call 648-4250.

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