By Mary WELCH
A Service-First Philosophy Keeps Honda Dealership Growing
Vic Scholfield was a visionary when it came to customer service. Scholfield, and his brother Dick, opened up a used car lot in the small town of Augusta, Kansas in 1954. Two years later they acquired an Oldsmobile franchise and in 1957, a Pontiac dealership.
“They were in this small town of 5,000 people and were doing so well that GM took notice and convinced them to move to Wichita. They were outselling the local dealer in Wichita, which at that time had a population of about 150,000,” says Roger Scholfield, Vic’s son.
ALL ABOUT SERVICE
Unlike most dealers, the Scholfield brothers didn’t focus on the sales aspect of the transaction; they were all about service. In his office Vic had a plaque that read ‘Service means sales.’ “It was a reminder that sales sells the first car but service sells all the rest. The sales process is a few hours but it’s the service department that keeps them a customer for life,” says Roger. “We’ve always been very particular about having a great service department with the best technicians.”
Today under Roger’s stewardship, Scholfield Honda continues its service first attitude, which is one reason why it is the number one volume Honda dealer in the state. In 2015 he sold 1,533 new Hondas and 1,322 used. The dealership is slightly off last year’s pace but is 3.5% more profitable this year, thanks to the service department and keeping a closer eye on expenses. Early next year he will be in a new 54,000 square foot facility, up from the 30,000 square foot one he built in 1985.
Vic and Dick accepted GM’s offer of a dealership in Wichita in 1965, which meant dropping the Oldsmobile line. In 1968 they acquired a Mercedes Benz dealership, and in 1971 became the 107th Honda dealer in the country. With Vic in his 90s and Dick deceased, the Schofields downsized and the non-Honda dealerships were taken over by Vic’s long-time partners, but still under the Scholfield name. Roger and Vic own the Honda dealership although all the dealers share the same CFO, payroll department, IT, insurance and other departments.
In 1986 Roger started working his way up through the ranks at the dealership, and in 1988 his father told him he wanted him to become upper management and take over the HR department. “Well, we didn’t have an HR department. We didn’t have a personnel department. We didn’t have any of thosehings,” he says with a laugh.
Not knowing exactly what to do, he asked his father what company he wanted to model the dealership after and he was told the Ritz-Carlton.
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Roger Schofield, President of
Schofield Honda with Service
Advisor Meredith Pickett