Seattle dealer group merges two stores into massive SODO District operation
New location for Toyota and Honda dealerships provides state-of the-art facilities
Seattle—After years of operating blocks apart in the crowded downtown corridor, Toyota of Seattle and Honda of Seattle now have a combined six-story location on Airport Way South in the stadium (SODO) district of Seattle. While the two stores have separate addresses, it’s likely the only location in the country that has two Japanese brands adjacent to one another, said John Swanstrom, certified Honda of Seattle parts manager.
Each of the stores has its own sales, service and parts centers. Both Toyota and Honda have three inside lanes for service writers to greet customers that also provide a complimentary wheel alignment and tire tread depth check automatically through an electronic system, displaying the data above each lane, Swanstrom said. The Toyota store has 34 total service bays, while Honda features 27, and include Hunter alignment systems, as well as dedicated express lube and maintenance service.
In addition to the 400,000 square feet in the six stories of the main dealership center, there is an 20,000-square-foot wholesale parts center and detail shop with six detailers a block south of the main dealerships, said Toyota Parts Manager Edwin Hurskin, where 11,000 square feet are dedicated to sheet metal parts and other products. There is also more than 9,000 square feet of parts space on the main floor and a mezzanine area for Toyota and Honda parts at the combined dealerships.
Elevators on each side of the stores provide transport to various levels of the operations, with several upper floors providing office centers, an employee lounge, kitchen, conference room, training centers, a company store with extensive food items and snacks, and storage for hundreds of Toyota and Honda cars and trucks, Hurskin said. “On the top floor we have facilities for outdoor barbecues, and on the floor below we have white Prius models lining the entire east-facing parking area toward Interstate 5. At night, LED lights provide a light show that highlights the various colors available on these models. It’s quite a site,” he said.
“With the move to SODO, we have a state-of-the-art facility with all new service departments, computers, phone system, and office centers,” said Hurskin, a longtime employee in parts and service at Toyota of Seattle. “In addition, we have a new lubrication facility that supplies oils, anti-freeze, and other fluids to the shop bays and stores used waste oils,” he said, adding that there is also a tire storage room that the stores were never able to have due to space restrictions.
“This project of combining the stores had a big level of dedication from our ownership, the Miller family; the Honda and Toyota teams; and our vendors, all of whom worked together to make this happen,” Hurskin said. “Kirby MacFarland and his crew from Equipment Sales Co. did an exceptional job with installation of lubrication systems, lifts, and other equipment in the shops to make both the Toyota and Honda service centers very efficient operations.”
While averaging 150 vehicles a day at the Toyota service department, the goal is toward 200 a day, said Chad Dobbs, service manager and 23-year veteran at the store. With eight service advisors and more than 25 technicians, Dobbs said additional techs will be added.
On the Honda side, new Service Manager Clayton Birtell, who relocated from Iowa and was a former Honda rep for 15 years, said his shop is providing service daily service between 75-115 vehicles and also expects major expansion. “We currently have 24 technicians and six service advisors, but plan to add two additional service advisors and likely more techs,” he said.
The Toyota and Honda parts staff includes 15 retail and wholesale parts specialists, plus three drivers who deliver parts daily throughout the Puget Sound region, Hurskin said. Dan Silva heads up the wholesale parts for Toyota, while Rich Leber handles the Honda side for wholesale.
Long involved with ASA Northwest, Hurskin is a past president of the Seattle Unit and currently serves as president-elect, he said. “I value my time with the ASA organization, and enjoy attending the local meetings and regional retreats.”