Kia heads to Tyler’sPublished 10:23am Monday, December 21, 2009
By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star
It’s a new week at Tyler Automotive – and the start of a new venture.
The longtime Niles car dealer recently announced some changes in the wake of news that GM would eliminate Tyler’s as one of its licensed dealerships.
Moving in is the Korean carmaker Kia Motors.
“We targeted Kia,” Scott Tyler, president of Tyler’s, said Friday.
Tyler said the company was looking for “a manufacturer that had a big upside.” It’s been a tumultuous year for car dealers everywhere, with two of the big three automakers Chrysler and GM ending relationships with dealers nationwide.
“Kia was a good fit,” he said.
The automaker boasts awards for many of its makes and models including a five-star frontal crash safety rating for the 2010 Soul, five-star crash safety rating for the 2010 Optima as well as the 2009 Kia Sportage.
“This past year, there was unprecedented turmoil in the auto industry,” Tyler said.
While the big three automakers faced bankruptcy and rounds of layoffs, Kia “was up 7 percent,” he said. “People are starting to recognize what an awesome value they represent. They are truly a hot franchise.”
Kia vehicles will be at the Tyler lot located on South 11th Street just north of Bell Road next to Shelton’s. Tyler said he expected more than 100 Kia brand vehicles parked on the lot by Christmas.
“I expect people to be excited about it,” Tyler said.
The president of the dealership discussed the changes in a recent letter that touched on Kia’s addition to the Tyler family, “The future of Kia is big,” he said. “And we are really excited to be associated with them,” as well as the future of another of the dealership’s anchor brand vehicles, Hummer.
“We are happy to report that GM is expected to finally complete its sale of Hummer this week to the Chinese firm Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co.,” Tyler said. “Tengzhong’s willingness to purchase the brand and invest in the product line means Hummer’s future once again appears bright.” He added the new owners planned on keeping production of the automobile in the United States.
“Future product development will focus on improving efficiency and performance in the current models as well as introducing new, smaller, more efficient, yet highly capable off-road vehicles,” he said. “We received our first 2010 Hummer product the other day and it is awesome and truly ‘like nothing else.’”
Tyler also touched on the loss of GM.
“Shocked” was the response he had following the automaker’s decision, Tyler said.
“In our case their decision was unfounded given our long standing record as a high performing GM dealership and one that has consistently excelled in every category they claimed to have included in their dealership evaluation criteria,” Tyler said, listing among other categories, sales volume, customer satisfaction, exclusivity of GM product and location.
“Adding to our frustration,” Tyler said, “they have never given us a reason as to why we were targeted for elimination.”
Though the dealer appealed the decision the future of Tyler and GM seems to lead to separate ways.
Meanwhile, brand new Kia brand vehicles are expected to make themselves at home this week – a convenience for southwest Michigan car shoppers who have, until now, had to travel to Mishawaka to shop Kia makes and models.
For more information, visit www.tylers.com or www.kia.com.