“As dealers go down to attrition, we’re going to be here to pick up the business, if possible,” Melvey said. “We assumed the two lines when Shaver folded, and we also just recently purchased Riverside Chrysler Jeep. We’ve been able to pick up most of their wholesale customers, so it’s paid off well so far.”
The people at Moss Bros. aren’t panicking during these tough economic times, because they’ve seen it all before. In fact, they’re one of the few car dealers who were actually around during a similar downturn called The Great Depression.
A look at the history of Moss Bros. on their corporate website illustrates that the company has flourished while many other dealers have come and gone.
In 1921, J.A. “Red” Moss, Sr. opened his first dealership in Blythe, California. Moving the business to Riverside in 1938, Red opened Moss Motors Dodge. Soon after, his son J.A. “Ade” Moss Jr. joined the ranks and, together, they were instrumental in opening The Riverside Auto Center, the nation’s first auto center in 1965. Red instilled enthusiasm for the car business in Ade who then passed it on to his sons J.A. “Jay” Moss, III and Glenn Moss, Sr.
Ade retired in 1989 while Jay and Glenn built upon the existing business with the addition of Moss Bros. Dodge in San Bernardino in 1987 and Moss Bros. Ford in Colton during the summer of 2001. This business growth continued in January of 2006 when Moss Bros. moved into the Moreno Valley Auto Mall with the addition of Moss Bros. Chrysler Jeep Dodge, Moss Bros. Honda, and Moss Bros. Toyota.
The company has succeeded by using a “hands-on” approach to management. The Moss family maintains a storewide policy that treats customers with the same standard of commitment that generates measurable success year after year. Simply put, the business is run according to the same principles of value, fairness, and teamwork that Red Moss, Sr. began with in 1921. Internally, management keeps an open-door policy so that every employee always has access to senior management if they have a concern or want to talk.
Parts Director Dale Melvey, 57, worked his way from the bottom to the top during his 40-year career in the automotive parts industry. “I started out pulling weeds and washing cars. I was a parts driver, a counter guy, and an assistant parts manager before landing my first parts manager position in 1974.”
Melvey has been a parts manager ever since, which gives him a unique insight into the parts business from a dealer’s perspective. He has been the parts director at Moss Bros. CJD for the past two years, after managing the parts department at the company’s Ford franchise in Colton for one year.
The parts department at Moss Bros. CJD operates out of a 30,000-square-foot facility and employs 68 people, including a total of 16 countermen—12 wholesale, two back counter and two front counter; 29 delivery drivers, one dispatcher, two outside sales reps, one wholesale manager, one counter sales manager, and 18 support personnel. The department carries a $1.2 million inventory, 65% of which are crash parts. The department also provides both mechanical and collision parts for its service department, which employs 24 technicians.
Moss Bros. CJD delivers parts to shops within a 60-mile radius and will do hot shot deliveries for wholesale customers within ten miles, Melvey said.
One of the ways Melvey markets his department is by utilizing the efforts of two outside sale reps, he said. “We’ve found that there’s nothing that compares with personal contact,” he said. “Our wholesale shop customers are more willing to discuss their concerns and problems face-to-face then they would be doing it over the phone or via e-mail, for instance. Building a rapport with these people is crucial and our outside sales efforts have achieved that.”
Melvey also uses other techniques to market his department to his wholesale customers, such as distributing flyers listing daily specials and by hosting client appreciation events.
“We recently took a bunch of shop people to the NASCAR World Finals at Pomona Raceway,” he said. “We took about 50 customers for a catered lunch with racer Tony Schumacher and his pit crew. Events like this really strengthen our position with our wholesale accounts, because they allow us to hang out with our customers and get to know them better.”
One of the strengths Moss Bros. CJD offers all its customers is the knowledge imparted by its wholesale parts reps, Melvey said. “All of our wholesale people handle every line we carry, both domestic and import. Everyone is trained on everything, so that when a shop calls, they get someone who knows what they’re talking about. They don’t have to put you on hold to ask another rep a question about a certain part or line. They do it all.”
Getting his customers the right part every time is a major priority for Melvey, he explained. “The first thing we require from the shop is the VIN number. That refines it down and makes it easier to locate the correct part. That way, we’re not comparing apples and oranges. Most of our guys have been doing this so long that they know these cars inside and out.”
If, by chance, Moss Bros. CJD delivers the wrong part, Melvey makes certain that they remedy the situation quickly and efficiently, he said. “No matter how carefully we take the order, it happens. But, by replacing it fast and crediting the customer’s account that same day, we can alleviate the situation without tying up the shop’s money.”
Melvey realizes that he has to offer price alternatives in this highly competitive marketplace. “We want to be competitive with the aftermarket, so we offer price-matching. If a customer can give us written documentation showing a lower price from another source, we will do everything we can to match it.”
Moss Bros. Chrysler Jeep Dodge
27810 Eucalyptus Avenue
Moreno Valley, CA 92555