A new look — and direction — for 2019
Portland, Ore.—Known since 1993 as AG Diesel, the north Portland shop, owned by Cameron Tormanen, is now AG Automotive to reflect its expansion into passenger car, SUV, crossover, and other light-duty vehicle service and repair, said Kirk Erickson, AAM, longtime service manager at AG who handles day-to-day operations.
The 12,500-square-foot facility has undergone remodeling and preparation for handling its expanded service, as well as added staff to conduct the new business expected, Erickson said. “We will continue to be diesel specialists for our customers, as well as other shops, but we will now also be able to service a wide variety of other vehicles,” he said, adding that the diesel market will continue to expand and be a major element of AG’s overall business.
Longtime supporters of the Automotive Training Expo (ATE) held in the Seattle area each March, Erickson said his six technicians and two service advisers will be taking technical and management classes geared for both diesel-equipped trucks and other vehicles that the shop expects to service and repair at the 2019 event.
“Our entire staff attends ATE, so we can obtain some critical training we will need in the near future,” Erickson said. “Hybrids and electric vehicles are not going away, so we need to be able to service them, as well as gas-equipped vehicles and servicing ADAS systems.”
As a full-service operation, including tire sales and alignment service, Erickson said AG is now prepared for virtually any vehicle that drives in to the shop. “We offer compete maintenance and repair, have a Hunter alignment system, and competitively sell Cooper tires, as well as a dozen other brands. We also offer a shuttle service and rental cars.”
As part of its rebranding process, Marketing Manager Ryan Wells has been recreating the company profile, such as promoting the name change to “AG Automotive” with the tag line “Diesel Specialists.”
“We’re doing a variety of things to expose the company to consumer and business audiences,” said Wells, who joined the company in 2016. One effort includes extensive marketing to businesses and their employees in the crowded industrial/distribution area in a five-mile radius surrounding AG. “Because there is a large market nearby, and few repair facilities like us, we will focus close by, then move beyond.
“We’ve been about a year slowly introducing our new brand with signage, new colors, website and social media updates, plus having booths at local RV and Sportsmen’s shows, and now we’re ready for the expansion of services. We’re still dialing in as 80-90 percent of our business still relates to diesel service, but our techs are getting fully introduced to gas and alternative-fueled vehicles. We have a lot of bright young techs that adapt fast and will strengthen our service offerings.”
Other promotion is derived from an outside sales rep who calls on fleets and others, provides flyers relative to AG services, and promotes all phases of what the company offers, Wells said, adding that web search engine optimization and links to Facebook and other customer communication are daily marketing functions.
“Cameron always has an eye on the future, and what he is creating with this expansion of services will meet the needs of both our existing customers and new ones as well,” he said. “The goal is to expand our vehicle count with a 50/50 mix of diesel and other vehicles. Our average repair order on diesel-equipped trucks will likely remain high, with more maintenance-related services on cars and other vehicles.”