There’s a certain prestige that comes with driving a luxury car. For many Americans, the Cadillac has long been the luxury car. For U.S. automakers, the Cadillac has been the standard of excellence for decades.
In metro Jackson, Clements Cadillac has been the place to buy a full line of Cadillac models for years.
“We have been Clements Cadillac since 1998. Prior to that, we were LeFleur Cadillac and Thad Ryan Cadillac,” said general manager Ted Enstrom.
The dealership was purchased by Jim Barksdale in January.
“We’re looking forward to some exciting changes,” Enstrom said. “We’re looking at doing an expansion of the sales area, a renovation of the customer lounge, a service department expansion and adding a detail shop. Mr. Barksdale is really giving us the tools we need to take the dealership to the next level.”
While Cadillacs have been the primary product the dealership has offered, it now includes Saab in the product line.
“A Saab is a luxury car that is favored by ‘techies,’” said Enstrom. “People who love technology seem to gravitate to the Saab.”
The company first built jet engines before moving into the car business. “People say that sitting in a Saab feels like sitting in the cockpit of an airplane. Now you know why. The Saab is a heck of a car. It’s a great ride, well built and very safe.”
Enstrom said that men seem to prefer the Saab more than women do.
Fulfilling those auto dreams
But there are people who have always dreamed of having a Cadillac.
“The name just has a reputation of luxury and prestige that people desire,” Enstrom said. “Our customers don’t really fit a mold. While many are affluent, successful professionals, we have customers from all walks of life. There are high school kids driving Cadillacs and there are senior adults. In the past few years, the Cadillac division of General Motors has totally redesigned the cars. Some people may have once thought the Cadillac was a car for old people. But not today. The CTS, our entry level sedan, is a great looking car that starts in the low $30,000 to $40,000 range, which is a good price for a luxury car.”
Purchasing a luxury car is a different experience from buying other cars, according to Enstrom.
“We’re selling a premium car, and we like to provide an enjoyable buying experience for the customer. We want to make our customers feel comfortable with the dealership and with us before we even sell them the product.”
And the products have all the bells and whistles to please the customers. “All our vehicles come equipped with On Star on board, as well as XM Satellite Radio. Some vehicles have navigational systems with back-up cameras, as well as front and rear parking assist, heated and cooled seats and even remote starters.”
Once the customer has purchased a vehicle, he or she will be invited to a special quarterly New Owner Clinic.
“It’s a clinic we put on for new car owners to teach them how to care and maintain their new car. A luxury vehicle is a big investment, and proper care is essential to keeping it for a long time to come,” Enstrom said.
In the clinic, a couple of cars are put on racks so that customers can see certain parts of the car.
“We discuss fluid reservoirs and colors of the different fluids. That way, if a customer sees fluid on the driveway, they can tell us what color it is and we can make a better diagnosis of what may be wrong,” he explained.
The difference can be seen in the service department as well.
“A service department can actually help sell cars. If a customer has good service experiences with their car, they’ll want to buy another one when the time comes. And if the car didn’t come from our dealership, people see that what we offer is superior, and that will often impact their next car-buying decision.”
The dealership offers loaner cars to customers when their vehicles are being serviced, but for those quick fixes, the customer lounge offers amenities not normally found in other dealerships.
“We provide complimentary snacks and roses for the ladies,” Enstrom said. “And we always try to wash and vacuum each car before we return it to the owner.”
Around the region
Clements services primarily the Central Mississippi area, but also draws customers from other parts of the state, as well as from Alabama and Louisiana. “With the Internet, we have sold vehicles to customers in Vancouver, Nova Scotia and New York City,” Enstrom said. “People know just what they want, so they type in their criteria and if we’ve got it, this is where they buy it.”
Business is good for the dealership, according to Enstrom. “We’ve had increase over increase for the past three years. So much of our business is repeat business, and we also get a good many referrals. People enjoy their experience here, and they love their vehicles, so they’ll tell their friends and family, and for that, we are very grateful.”
With so many dealerships in the metro Jackson area, Enstrom said it’s critical for Clements Cadillac/Saab to set itself apart.
“We have a modern, upscale facility where we try to treat people the way we want to be treated. When people are buying a luxury product, they expect to be treated in a special way. For us, it’s good, old-fashioned customer service. It’s worked for us in the past, and we’ll continue providing great customer service as we continue to build,” he said.