Remodel aligns with latest Chrysler image
Recent top-to-bottom remodel includes renewed focus on customer service at Normandin
San Jose, Calif.—Normandin Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram has been serving San Jose and the Bay Area since 1875. Founded by Amable Normandin, the family business began more than three decades prior to the Model T and began selling cars in 1906, said President and General Manager Mark Normandin, and in honor of its history, one of its original horse-drawn buggies sits on the roof and a 1915 Franklin graces the showroom floor.
“We started with what is now the Chrysler Corporation in 1933 and have gone through a lot with them,” Normandin said. “In the early 1980s my father, Lon Normandin, was one of the selected dealers to go to Congress to rally support of Chrysler’s recovery plan.” His father, he added, is still active in the business as chairman of the board, as is sales manager and Mark Normandin’s younger brother, Paul Normandin.
“Five generations later we’re still run by family,” Mark Normandin said. “We’ve outlasted several of the brands we represented over the years: Franklin, DeSoto, Hupmobile, Saxon, Hillman, and Plymouth.”
Normandin Parts Manager Mike Nelson said he is a third-generation employee, and his grandfather, George Shuck, and father, Mike Shuck, both had long-term positions, with his father retiring in 2012 after 30 years. “Normandin is a place that you can retire from. It’s been a great company for my family and a great company to work for. I expect it will be the last job I’ll ever have,” Nelson said.
The 10-acre facility recently completed a top-to-bottom remodel aligning itself with the latest Chrysler image. “It was a lot of work,” said Nelson, who took the reins as parts manager in February, and has been with Normandin for eight years, moving through the system from parking cars and service writer to parts. “We still have some work to do. Our phone system has been an issue for some time and we are working hard to solve the ongoing problems. It’s one of the things that comes with a facility that has been around as long as this one. For the parts department, we’re rebuilding our policies and procedures.”
Armed with six parts advisors and almost $1 million in inventory, Nelson said his team seek to expand their collision business. Normandin’s three Sprinter delivery vehicles make two runs daily, as well as afternoon hot-shot deliveries. “We go north up to South San Francisco, south to Morgan Hill and Gilroy. Our east route goes out to Oakland, Livermore, Dublin, Pleasanton, and all points between. Our afternoon run includes Sunnyvale, Fremont, Santa Clara, and San Jose,” he said.
Team principles are in full effect in the Normandin parts department. “We’re all co-workers. No one is more important than another and that includes me. Joe Curley has been with Normandin for 25 years, and Ben Novinsky, 21. They’ve been through the good times and the bad with Chrysler, and are extremely knowledgeable and a great asset.”
Competition has never been stiffer, he said. “From mechanical to collision, there is a ton of competition — aftermarket and OE. We’ve increased focus on customer service, and I’ll send a counterman out if we need to get the part there ASAP. Our hot-shot deliveries are designed to support mechanical repair shops as well as collision. You attract more bees with honey. We’re happy to help, address any issues and get it right.”
On the collision side, Nelson said Normandin will be going out of its way to support shops that are part of Assured Performance’s Chrysler Certified program. “The Chrysler Certified program is a great way for shops to stand out from the crowd. We’re making a distinct effort to support those shops and help them meet their goals. Chrysler-certified collision repair is great for the industry.”
Nelson said Chrysler supports mechanical repair shops by offering factory tools and equipment through mopar.snapon.com. “You can get the same specialty tools we use at the dealership,” he said. “One especially handy tool is the Miller Tools No.9936-transmission dipstick, which is designed for the NAG and CVII transmissions to check level and operating temperatures.”