Ottawa Chrylser Jeep Dodge Ram is now Victory Chrysler Dodge Jeep of Ottawa after new owners took over on Wednesday. Other than the new name, customers will find the same service with the same staff but with the advantages of a big-city dealership.
One new face at the dealership is Kallan LaForge, general manager. He said all the previous staff were retained as the service manager and parts manager have been there for more than 20 years.
Victory CDJR is part of Premiere Auto Group based in New Orleans and it currently owns five dealerships in Kansas City. LaForge said adding a dealer in a rural area was something the owners wanted to do.
“We’ve had some success with what we would call a little more rural store,” he said. “They acquired a store in Savanah, Missouri. and the people in small towns are good, nice people. A lot of us are small-town guys and so we really enjoy those markets. This was an opportunity that we thought would give us a chance to not only get in the community and move the needle a little bit but also be able to bring in some of the things we do in Kansas City like our food pantry and giving back to the community which is important to us too.”
With five Kansas City dealerships to work with, LaForge said the Ottawa store will be able to offer better prices and options than ever before. He said in the past, the Kansas City dealership would have people drive from this area for better prices and service. Now, he said, they can direct them to the Ottawa store and know that the right people are in place to help them.
“Ultimately we want to take care of customers, service cars and sell cars and this just makes it easier,” he said. “A store that size in Kansas City may have more lenders signed up or a little more buying power than maybe a smaller store so we will be able to piggy-back off of them. I’ve been joking with the owner and staff about bringing big-city prices, which is a good thing, to this area with also offering great service. I’ve been here a little over a month now and it’s been fun to be able to change the new car prices to be more competitive and seeing people driving from the city down here to purchase cars already. Everyone here will tell you they have never seen that before.”
LaForge said during the process of changing over the store to new ownership, members of the ownership group have been in Ottawa to meet the staff and he said it’s important to them to have a presence in the community.
It’s important for the Victory dealerships to have a positive impact on their community and they have been active in giving back in the Kansas City area. LaForge said there plan in Ottawa is to do the same.
“The need is so great there, especially being such a big area,” he said. “So we are not sure what that will look like in this area. We haven’t really had the opportunity to dive into that yet but we will. Premiere and Victory have a model called profit for a purpose and so we take a piece of every deal we do and put that right back in (the community). The neat thing for me is that in a small town you get to immediately see the effect you are having where in a larger community its a little harder to see.”
The dealership plans a grand opening celebration on Nov. 10 from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. There will be giveaways and food. LaForge said they want to meet people and introduce themselves to the community.