The Pepe Auto Group has been serving the region for more than 50 years. Owned and operated by the Pepe family, the auto group employs about 450 workers and sells about 10,000 vehicles
Mark Hersh, executive manager of Pepe Infiniti on Central Avenue in White Plains, took time out for a Q&A with WAG:
How long has Pepe been around?
“The first Pepe dealership was an Oldsmobile dealership that opened in 1968 in Mount Vernon. Only two years later, they would open their first Mercedes-Benz store. This store was moved to its current location in White Plains in 1978.”
How has the dealership evolved over those years?
“Through the years, more dealerships were opened, to include Pepe Infiniti in 1989, Porsche Larchmont in 1995, Mercedes-Benz of New Rochelle in 2005, Pepe Cadillac in 2010 and Audi Nyack in 2018. In 2016, they opened a vehicle prep center in Elmsford to handle the high volume of inventory they keep on hand. This location receives and processes all their new car inventory before it is sent to each individual store.”
How much did the pandemic hurt your sales?
“During the pandemic our service departments were open, but our sales departments were closed for nearly two months and our sales personnel were working from home. While we were not able to deliver cars, we were available to answer questions and guide our customers.”
What did you do to work around the pandemic?
“Prior to the pandemic, we had already adopted software that allowed us to perform much of the buying process electronically, so when the pandemic happened, we were in a good spot to still be able to conduct business. “While things were different, many customers were thrilled to learn that this new method of buying online was easy and many of our customers did the transaction online. Things like placing a deposit on a car, filling out a credit application or even uploading licenses or other documents, could easily be done online at the customers’ convenience.”
What keeps customers coming back?
“Our relentless commitment to customer satisfaction keeps customers coming back. Every effort is made to satisfy customers at every possible touchpoint, not just during the purchase but for the entire ownership life cycle. Today, our group consists of over 450 employees whose primary role is to satisfy our customers.”
Of all the different cars you sell, which is the best seller? Mercedes?
“Our Mercedes-Benz dealership is our longest standing store and it’s easy to look at that store and call it the flagship. Mercedes-Benz has always had a great product and a strong following, but when you look at our other brands in our group, the depth of their products, backed by the service we provide, it’s easy to see why we’ve grown into the largest luxury auto group in Westchester County. Every dealership in our group has received numerous trophies and awards over the years for outstanding services that we provide our customers. And we’re very proud of that.”
As the call goes out for more electric vehicles, how have the manufacturers you represent responded?
“This year, our group has committed to replacing our current electrical chargers with new, faster ones. This project is underway and we expect everything to be completed in the next few months. As all manufacturers have announced new electric models, we stand ready to provide our customers with infrastructure to support their needs.”
Who’s coming out with electronic vehicles?
“All of our brands will have EVs in the near future. Both Audi and Porsche already have EVs in the market. Audi has two versions of the e-tron SUV with a sedan coming shortly and Porsche now offers their Taycan sedan in several different trim levels. Mercedes-Benz will introduce the EQS, a four-door sedan in early fall, and it will be followed by four more all-electric models throughout 2022. Cadillac is also scheduled to introduce the Lyriq SUV in the first quarter of 2022. And this is only the beginning of what’s going to come in the future.”
Are the dealerships doing anything to reduce their individual carbon footprints?
“Every so often, we renovate our stores to keep our spotless appearance. It is during these times that we choose to upgrade things like lighting or boilers to more efficient ones. We use building management systems to monitor performance and efficiency of everything in our buildings. Our systems are monitored and we are notified when something is not working to its potential, so we can then have proper maintenance performed eliminating waste.
“We’ve also taken steps in our processes to help eliminate paper during the buying process or even in the service drive. Much of the final paperwork can now be signed on a tablet electronically and is then also sent to the customer via email or provided on a memory stick, further eliminating the need for folders of paper. We even offer express payment for off-site online checkout on the final invoice for convenience and saving more paper. As technology keeps improving, we are always looking at changing and improving our own buildings to be more efficient.”
What’s the future hold for Pepe?
“Our goal is to always make a customer visit as simple and transparent as possible, whether that visit is to our website or in our store. Electronically, we will always look for the best tools possible and provide the information consumers are looking for online. In our stores, our employees are empowered to make decisions to deliver a world-class experience every time and it’s here that our group excels.”
For more, visit pepeautogroup.com.