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Wednesday, 10 December 2014 00:00

Business Profile: Ray Brandt Automotive Group in New Orleans, LA

Car shoppers in the greater New Orleans area inevitably cross paths with the Ray Brandt Automotive Group. With 12 franchises and locations in Metairie, on the West Bank and in Mississippi, the group has established itself as one of the area's largest and most comprehensive providers of car sales and services in the New Orleans area. Vice President Joey Hogh attributes the company's success to its long-term relationships with customers.

"[CEO Ray Brandt] wants to keep customers for life," he says. "With our strong parts and services departments, we provide maintenance and help [clients] when it's time to purchase their next vehicle."

Brandt is an accountant and attorney who moved gradually into the business world. The Ray Brandt Automotive Group began in 1983 with a Datsun dealership in Metairie, which eventually became Ray Brandt Nissan. Over time, Brandt built or acquired dealerships for a range of brands, including Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Infiniti, Porsche, Dodge and Chrysler. At its dealerships and service centers, the company employs technicians who each specialize in one make of vehicle. This ensures technicians are familiar with issues in all makes and models.

Over a 30-year career, Hogh has seen the business side of car dealerships from every possible angle. He began in the New Orleans area washing cars, progressing from there through the sales department. As finance and insurance manager, he handled the fiduciary aspects of sales for customers. Though Hurricane Katrina took him on a brief detour to Lexington, Kentucky, he returned home to continue his career in the local automotive business. These days, Hogh helps manage two franchises and serves as vice president for the Ray Brandt Group.

Its broad focus has earned the Ray Brandt Group accolades from various professional organizations. The company has won the Infiniti Award of Excellence on eight occasions and received the President's' Award from Toyota.

"Every award [we receive] is for the total package; both sales and service," Hogh says. "We deliver solid value for all of our stores."

December is traditionally a big month in car sales, as dealerships look to move inventory to make way for next year's models and finish the fiscal year with a strong showing. customers can benefit from price reductions.

In the upcoming months, the company will open a dedicated Volkswagen showroom, moving from the space it currently shares with other brands. New "crossover" vehicles, including the Porsche Macan and the Infiniti Q50, will appear on Ray Brandt lots. These cars provide the storage space and comfort of an SUV in a compact size, and can have special features like automatic brake sensors.

Hogh anticipates another year of serving the community, providing maintenance to existing clients and gaining new ones.

"[As a company], we like to touch on a bit of all our bases," he says.

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