Even as the auto industry struggles mightily in the face of a shrinking American economy, local automotive dealer Robbie Franklin continues to walk with a spring in his step and a gleam in his eyes.
The recent recipient of the prestigious President's Award from Toyota for the second straight year, Franklin's Statesboro Toyota Scion dealership continues to set marks for customer service satisfaction, customer sales satisfaction, facilities maintenance, and sales that other area dealers have been unable to do.
“We are proud to be the area’s only Toyota President’s Award winning dealership for the second year in a row,” Franklin said. “This honor is a direct reflection of our commitment to maintain the quality of service required to be a recipient of this award. I am proud of our talented sales staff, and our exemplary service and parts departments.”
Each year, Toyota Motor Sales recognizes its most outstanding dealerships with the President's Award. It is a high honor for a dealership to receive from Toyota, and is only awarded to those dealerships that have demonstrated a commitment to maintaining Toyota's highest standards for customer satisfaction.
Robbie Franklin has been a Toyota dealer since 1977, and has been in the automotive business since 1964 when he joined his father, Lehman Franklin, at Franklin Chevrolet. The Franklin Automotive Group consists of Franklin Chevrolet and Franklin Toyota Scion, both located in Statesboro.
Recently, Franklin's Toyota dealership hosted the Statesboro-Bulloch County Chamber of Commerce's Business After Hours social. Franklin seemed humbled as his Toyota general sales manager Scott Noblitt announced the dealership's reception of its second straight President's Award.
"I really have to say that a great deal of our success is just being in Bulloch County," Franklin said. "This is a great community, and we are lucky to be here. Also, we have a wonderful staff that really cares about its customers, and what we sell. I'm just very grateful."
Donnie Hicks has been a salesman for Franklin Toyota since 2005. Hicks had been a manager of a local manufacturing plant before coming to the dealership. Hicks said the sales education he received is what has made him so successful.
"We have a very well trained sales staff," Hicks said. "Our upper management gives us the training tools that we need to make us successful. They are always sending us to training seminars, and we are given a test every month on a different vehicle to make sure that we have the proper product knowledge."
Hicks said Franklin Toyota customer receives the best of both worlds.
"For a smaller dealership, our staff is extremely knowledgeable just like you would find in a large market dealership," he said. "The difference is you get a small town feel here, kind of down-to-earth."
Franklin said the economy has affected sales of larger vehicles, but overall, his dealerships' sales have remained steady.
"It's just one of those times," he said. "Bulloch County has been very good to us, and our sales have stayed relatively strong considering the overall economy. We will just keep doing things to the best of our ability."