Month: July 2016

Today’s minivans have maxi appeal

By KATHLEEN HOERSTEN QUIRK Special to ADAMM Anthony Weide says his wife swore she’d never drive a minivan. “She was forever the person who said /I’ll never get into a minivan.’ We have two young children – and two months ago she magically wanted a minivan,” he says. Weide, who is Kia sales manager at ROSEN Nissan Kia, says families like his are giving minivans another look as new designs, safety features and amenities become available. “The minivan isn’t exactly the boxy squared off vehicle anymore. They’re starting to make them more attractive so they can attract some of those people who’ve shied away from the minivan,” he says. When minivans first hit the market in the 1980s, they were an instant hit with families who were seeking space for both cargo and children. However, the minivans lost some traction over the years. That was partially because of the very “soccer mom” image that made them so practical in the first place, and partly because auto makers began offering an array of other types of vehicles that appealed to the same market – crossovers and SUVs of all sizes. A few manufacturers, like Ford and GM even pulled out of the minivan market, steering customers to those other options. Now minivans, which never really went away, are attracting new customers. Of the remaining group of minivans on the market,...

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Jeep at 75: Getting the job done in peace and war

By DAVID THOME Special to ADAMM Jeep’s success story began when U.S. military leaders decided they needed a small, hardy vehicle for battlefield reconnaissance. Designed in a whirlwind, the original model rose to the task, performing so well that one famous general credited it with winning World War II. Seventy-five years later, Jeep SUVs and crossovers that still bear an uncanny resemblance to that first model are winning hearts and minds of a wide range of civilian drivers. According to Automotive News, Jeep is Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ best-selling brand, outpacing Chrysler and Dodge combined. Contemporary models still appeal to off-roaders and are sold to farmers and construction firms as working vehicles. But they’re no less desirable to suburbanites and business people who use them to commute to work on well-paved interstate highways. The company has already paved the way to continued success by introducing the 2017 Grand Cherokee Trailhawk, which GizMag.com reviewer C.C. Weiss calls “the most capable factory-produced Grand Cherokee ever” and Summit, “the most luxurious” model in the company’s history. Jeep also has introduced several 75th anniversary edition models. “Some people like the luxury of the Grand Cherokee,” said Ambika Dziak, sales consultant for SCHLOSSMANN’S Dodge City Dodge Chrysler Jeep in Brookfield. “But some people are looking for a fun car like the Wrangler, which can be a convertible in summer and a truck in winter.” Jose...

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New dealer offers the MVP treatment

By DAVID THOME Special to ADAMM Jerry Cousin Jr.’s journey from car salesman to car dealer took him from the East Coast to the South Pacific, and from Dixieland to the Land of Lincoln. He brought his idea of treating customers like a sports team’s “most valuable player” to the Milwaukee area last year when he took ownership of the former Boyland Honda store in Greenfield and renamed it ALL-STAR Honda. “My wife Kirsten and I like the people here,” he said. “Where we live, on the north side of Kenosha, we get the best of being in a smaller community, but also of having Chicago and Milwaukee nearby for what big cities have to offer.” Cousin grew up in North Carolina. He studied economics in college, but put his degree on hold to sell cars. Twenty-three years later he jokes about the length of his one-year hiatus. After he’d worked himself up through the ranks to general sales manager in North Carolina, he visited his parents, who were living in Hawaii. That vacation turned into a move to the Big Island, where Cousin ran a Honda dealership that grew rapidly and received the company’s President’s Award — an honor claimed by only 15% of all Honda stores. His goal, though, was to own a store. An opportunity presented itself in Alabama, but when it fell through, Honda’s recruiters...

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Muscle cars: They don’t make ’em like they used to

By DAVID THOME Special to ADAMM Muscle cars: They don’t make ’em like they used to Today’s models are safer, have plenty of power Muscle cars have returned with a screaming vengeance after being more or less extinct since the oil crises of the early-1970s, and while some enthusiasts pine for the V8 rubber-burners of yore, reviewers say the classics have got nothing on the current generation. Current rear-wheel-drive muscle cars look like their predecessors, but the similarity ends there. Says New York Daily News automotive reporter Nick Kurczewski, “Don’t wax too nostalgic, because while the selection is smaller, today’s muscle car field is faster and, in pretty much every tangible way, infinitely better to drive than the 1960s originals.” That’s very much in tune with what customers say when checking out three of the more widely acknowledged current muscle cars: Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger. “We hear countless stories from people about how they bought their first Mustang here 40 or 50 years ago,” said Carl Wallace, general sales manager for HILLER Ford in Franklin. “They have good memories, but one test drive and they see that, for the most part, the new ones are better. The fit and finish are better in all vehicles now compared to 40 years ago.” Josh Schumacher, new car manager for UPTOWN Chrysler Dodge Jeep in Slinger, said the Challenger...

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