If I asked you what car dealership has one of the highest customer satisfaction rankings in the country and the largest volume of new Chevrolet sales in the entire state of Washington, who do you think it would be?
With so many dealerships across the state, that’s a difficult question to answer. Okay, I’ll give you a hint: the dealership is located in Pierce County, but it’s not in Tacoma or Puyallup.
Baffled yet? Believe it or not, the Washington Chevrolet dealership with the highest customer satisfaction rating and volume of new Chevrolet sales in the state is located in Sumner. It’s Sunset Chevrolet.
A statewide leader in new and used Chevy car sales, Sumner’s Sunset Chevrolet is also second in the country for customer retention. A wildly successful car dealership with an unassuming location, this nationally recognized dealership’s start came from beginnings equally as humble as the city in which it was established in and continues to operate out of today.
It was the early 1900s and Sunset Chevrolet, originally a gas station, was selling one or two Chevys per month. While this number may appear meager compared to the 100+ new vehicles and around 150 – 200 used vehicles the dealership dishes out monthly now, at the time, this number was quite impressive. While most gas station dealerships of the time were going out of business, Sunset Chevrolet was expanding, and continues expanding today.
In the 1940s, Sunset Chevrolet built a detail shop, which is the same building the dealership operates out of today. Since its first expansion, the building has been added onto two more times, once during the 1980s and again in 2010. While Sunset Chevrolet’s footprint, inventory and staff have grown over the past 94 years in order to keep-up with demand, the company’s integrity and location has remained the same.
So what has made Sunset Chevrolet one of the leading car dealerships in the country? “It’s not our location,” jokes Phil Mitchell, seventh and current owner of Sunset Chevrolet. Located independently of the popular auto malls and auto rows located in nearby Puyallup and Tacoma, Sunset Chevrolet still manages to crush their competition thanks to the commitment and loyalty they extend to their customers.
“We offer the best prices and service year-round. Vehicles cost what they cost and trades are worth what they’re worth, but we do the best we can to make the numbers fit for our customers,” explains Mitchell. Sunset Chevrolet also offers their customers something even better: “Warranty Protection for Life.”
What all does “Warranty Protection for Life” entail? This no-cost to the customer, no deductible service comes included with every new or used (15 model years or newer and with less than 100,000 miles) Chevy purchased or leased at Sunset Chevrolet. For no additional cost, the warranty covers all major repairs, plus all new and late model GM vehicles are eligible for oil changes for life and car washes for as long as the customer owns the vehicle.
“We try to lower the total cost of driving,” explains Mitchell. When you buy a car, you have to factor in various costs: what you pay for the car, cost of insurance, gas, maintenance, major repairs, and so on. Sunset Chevrolet’s lifetime warranty protection is designed to help alleviate some of those costs.
“We feel confident that if you do business with us, you’re going to lower your cost of driving,” says Mitchell. “Say you fell in love with a Chevy Silverado that has 93,000 miles on it but you aren’t sure you want to start ownership of a truck with that many miles. This protection covers you for the life of the vehicle,” explains Mitchell. “The warranty protection is really the cornerstone to our success and what has separated us from all the other Chevy dealers in the state over the past couple of years.”
Mitchell says Sunset Chevrolet’s competitors often question the lifetime warranty protection, accusing that there’s no way a dealership could afford to put that kind of money into the vehicles they sell. To this, Mitchell says their competitors are right. They can’t afford to put this type of investment into their vehicles, and they don’t – they put the investment into their customers. Mitchell says, plain and simple, that’s the secret to Sunset Chevrolet’s success: taking care of the customer. “But don’t tell the competition!” he says with a smile.
But, offering killer deals like “Warranty Protection for Life” isn’t the only way Sunset Chevrolet takes care of their customers. “We go the extra mile. We try to give [customers] personalized services. We deliver, we pick up – we’re basically their family member in the auto business,” says Mitchell, noting that even during the economic downturn, they never experienced any setbacks.
As for the next 100 years, Mitchell says he plans to continue following Sunset’s model of success, and hopes his successors do the same. “I’m just steering the ship right now,” says Mitchell. “Hopefully it will just keep perpetuating itself,” he concludes.
For more information about Sunset Chevrolet, you can visit them online at sunsetchevrolet.com, or visit the lot in Sumner at 910 Traffic Ave, in “Tiny Overhead” Sumner.
910 Traffic Ave
Sumner, WA 98390