Corman, the owner of High Sierra, has been in the car business for 31 years and has faced his share of adversity during his stint that has helped him average 15-25 car sales a month in a time where the economy is still struggling and the competition is very steep.
High Sierra Auto Sales’ slogan “no sales pressure” is the key to their success, according to Corman.
“I throw them (customers) the keys and they look at me like I’m crazy,” 49-year-old Corman said laughing. “I don’t like feeling pressured and I believe the car sells itself.”
Dario Rocha, Sales Manager of High Sierra Auto Sales, also shares the same views and has been given the keys to run the dealership even after Corman’s bad experience with his ex-business partner in Oxnard, California where he owned a new Kia dealership.
Corman’s business partner (wouldn’t disclose his name) went to jail for fraud and (recently passed away in jail) after gambling thousands of dollars in Las Vegas and Corman was forced to file for personal bankruptcy and lose his successful Kia store.
With that being said, Rocha’s 16-year relationship with Corman has made him his right hand because it’s been based on honesty and loyalty, making High Sierra Auto Sales the successful business it is today.
“Dario believes the same things I do, honesty is the best policy,” Corman said. “He use to run around with hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and only 21 years old at the time (Kia dealership) and the money would always be deposited in the bank without a dime missing.”
The Reno car market has always been one of the strongest in the nation but in particular the new car stores have done pretty well considering they live in the biggest little city in the world.
Therefore, how have smaller used car dealerships survived in an economy where government programs such as Cash for Clunkers took a toll on them and the budget for new stores are significantly higher?
According to Corman and Rocha, great customer service leads to more sales.
“We try to separate ourselves from a car lot that’s going to try to take your money and say beat it too bad and offer 90-day warranties to just to keep our customers satisfied,” 39-year-old Rocha said.
Colt Ainsworth is a recent customer who purchased a 2005 GMC Sierra and was very fond of High Sierra Auto Sales’ “no sales pressure” slogan and says that was they key to purchasing his truck.
“I felt like I can look around and they’re not going to be trying to jump around my throat begging me to buy something,” Ainsworth said. “They’re like, if you like it come on in, if not thanks for stopping bye.”
Craigslist has also been a great tool for High Sierra Auto Sales and affordable.
“Craigslist was free for a while and now it’s $5 an ad, which is fine because it’s still cheaper than a radio ad, cheaper than a commercial, and still cheaper than deals on wheels,” Rocha said.
Alongside Craigslist, many of their customers come from Elko and Winnemucca because of the small variety of selection those towns have and the amount of accidents that happen during the winter in Northern Nevada.
“People in Reno can’t really drive,” Rocha said chuckling.
For the young entrepreneur thinking of starting a used car business, this “no sales pressure” model High Sierra Auto Sales preaches may be the recipe to success in a market where it’s predominantly controlled by franchise dealerships.