Sweet 16: Lexus of Charleston chalks up another Elite honor to stay among the most prolific in the U.S.
By JIM PARKER
The Post and Courier
That we should all have such troubles: Lexus of Charleston learned its most coveted national trophy needs a new “sub-base,” so all the wins will fit on it.
The statue, a gold stand with glass-like globe, is awarded for “Elite of Lexus,” a top dealership honor bestowed by the manufacturer. Lexus of Charleston has attained elite status 16 straight times, being notified this spring of its 2011 award.
“I got here in 1996, and we’ve won every year since,” said David Yarborough, general manager of the Lexus outlet at 2424 Savannah Highway. “There’s a very small group,”
“Elite of Lexus” status is far from guaranteed with just 25 percent of the 220 dealers reaching the level in any given year. Three or four long-time winners typically drop off the list each year, making the consecutive streak all the more remarkable.
Yarborough credits the dedication of the Lexus of Charleston staff including sales, service, parts and administrative, for keeping up the high standards. The dealership must show a commitment to excellence in four categories: customer satisfaction, sales operations, service and certification.
Lexus of Charleston has planned a special celebration for employees and guests in early June.
“We stay focused on our goal, and the primary goal is customer satisfaction,” he said. “Now that we are part of the Hendrick Automotive Group, we take extra care of the customer.”
Last year was the first full year that Hendrick Automotive has owned Lexus of Charleston, which it purchased along with Toyota of North Charleston from dealer Gene Reed in summer 2010.
For 2011, Lexus of Charleston also was awarded a Hendrick Champion honor, one of the first times a dealership in its first year of Hendrick ownership reached the plateau, he said.
What makes the achievements extra special is that Lexus struggled through much of last year, victimized by a devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear scare that befell northern Japan in winter 2011.
“We had some difficult times from all of that,” Yarborough said, noting that Lexus of Charleston was able to rebound later in the year and meet all its customer satisfaction goals.
Meanwhile, the dealership is already on its way to a 17th straight “Elite of Lexus” status. “So far this year, we’ve had perfect 100s in sales and service,” he said.
Expected to help the dealership this year is Lexus’ stepped up design offerings. The carmaker is bringing out several eye-catching new models, which should further boost customer interest.
They include a redesigned 2013 Lexus ES sedan with gas-powered and new hybrid versions, the latter logging up to 40 mpg; 2013 RX350 and 450h sport utility vehicles; and the LX full-sized SUV.
The newly minted Elite of Lexus trophy is in a prominent place in the Lexus of Charleston showroom, right near the entrance. Still, the dealership doesn’t want winning to be its all-consuming goal; instead it focuses on the customer and lets any honors fall where they may, Yarborough said.
“It’s more to have comfortable surroundings for the client (and treating the customer right),” he said. “Everybody is totally engaged.”
Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or email@example.com.