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Platform for Dealership Body Shops to Go Corporate

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Feb. 15, 2019—Larry King has a unique story. He’s a dealership man, but he’s also a collision repair man. King is the owner of CARSTAR of Port Arthur (Texas), which is co-located at Energy Country Ford. For two years, he’s been a member of CARSTAR and in that time has seen a 38 percent increase in business.

Recently, CARSTAR announced it is continuing the trend of building its network of collision repair facilities based in dealerships. At the end of 2018, CARSTAR had more than 50 collision repair facilities in dealerships in the U.S. and Canada.

Today, nearly two of every five franchised dealerships operate collision repair centers, the National Automobile Dealers Association reports.

King says there are benefits to being part of CARSTAR. For one, the dealership is able to operate its body shop on the corporate level, which helps the shop make insurance relationships.

Right now, King has one body shop but is looking in two other states to open facilities, he says.

“I’m not looking to be one body shop,” he says.

King says he didn’t have to expand his collision repair shop when joining forces with CARSTAR. In fact, he says the shop was in a facility that was overbuilt so they had the opportunity to expand and just needed the customers.

In five years, King sees the company expanding to five locations in his market territory at minimum. He is working to end 2019 with three locations, he says.

For any other dealership that finds itself in a “fork in the road,”  trying to decide whether to keep the body shop open or close it, should look to their current customers, King says. After all, he indicated, do you want to keep that customer on or put that customer in the hands of another dealership?


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