Bergstrom Automotive Innovating
It is genuinely encouraging to see the Bergstrom Automotive Group deciding to stay in-tune with market trends (read: increasingly high fuel prices) and downsize their Hummer dealership into being part of an existing dealership, instead of a stand-alone unit. What are they replacing the highly-visible dealership with? A GM-certified user-car dealership.
Nothing earth shattering with the news, it’s just encouraging to see a company follow the market quickly, instead of slowly (see: Janesville, Wisconsin General Motors plant).
Our friends at Metro Milwaukee Today see this development in a completely different light. In fact they’re shocked that people don’t want expensive, fuel-inefficient, status symbols to drive to other high-end retail stores anymore.
I was shocked when the news broke out a few days ago on the Journal Sentinel. The land where the big HUMMER sign displays proudly is on prime real estate, visible from many angles on US 45 and Good Hope Road. The dealership also gave Park Place a higher status in regards to wealth and power as an office park in NW Milwaukee County. For it to be downgraded to nothing more than a used car dealership is sad, to say the least.
They couldn’t be more wrong. It’s encouraging, not sad, that a company is taking a drastic step to revamp how they do business to respond to what is likely a permanent fixture in the market (high gas prices).
Sure, Hummers are a status symbol, for the military. A civilian driving a Hummer is like throwing money into the wind, except the wind is rich oil executives.
Long-lasting used cars (including the GM “certified” variety that Bergstrom will be selling) with decently high fuel efficiency are arguably “greener” because you’re only producing the car once, but satisfying two owners over a long period of time. Not to mention that used cars are cheaper than buying a new car (buying a new car that immediately depreciates in value has to be one of the worst investment decisions one can make).
As I’ve said before, gasoline-powered cars before can never be legitimately “green” (nor can parking garages), but stepping stones are going to be essential to building good urban centers that are pedestrian and mass transit friendly.
This also isn’t the first sign of leading the market that Bergstrom has done. They opened Wisconsin’s first Smart Car dealership next to the Hummer dealership and almost immediately had a waiting list 400 customers long. They clearly have some idea where the market is going and intend on being the first dealership there.