Toyota of Laredo
Oldest Toyota Franchise in Texas Goes Big for ‘Best Customer Experience’
Things Are Indeed Bigger at the Oldest Toyota Franchise in Texas
Horace Watson, and his business partner, Bill Powell, founded Toyota of Laredo in 1965. That makes it the oldest Toyota franchise in Texas. Thanks to the vision of their sons, this landmark store now has the newest service and parts center in the Lone Star state.
“We built our current facility in 2008, but with all of our growth, things were getting a little tight in the service department,” Dealer Principal Jonathan Watson says. “Fortunately, we had an opportunity to purchase a very nice property just across the street that made it possible to more than double our capacity.”
The 32,000-square-foot state-of-the-art two-story building, which took nine months to construct, fully opened for business in March. Since then, Toyota of Laredo’s service customers have been enjoying a spacious lounge fitted out with free Wi-Fi and large screen TVs as well as an outdoor patio with a view of a duck pond. Online scheduling as well as touch-free vehicle drop-off, pickup and delivery are also now part of the package.
Meanwhile, their vehicles are being tended to by certified Toyota technicians who get to ply their trade in a modern and efficient work environment with 22 service stalls. That includes six bays set aside for ToyotaCare maintenance work that are accessible via a drive-through lane directly from the reception area. The new building also offers a large employee lounge and a training room that can accommodate 50 people.
“Our service facility is also the only one in Laredo that’s fully air conditioned, which has really made a difference in this summer’s heat,” says Watson. “That feature alone really helps us attract the best technicians in the area.”
Toyota of Laredo’s existing service facility is still being put to good use as a dedicated area for the reconditioning of Toyota Certified Used Vehicles, pre-delivery and detailing of new vehicles and a booming window tinting business.
The net effect of all of the above is that the dealership’s business is up about 35% compared with its pre-pandemic numbers. Watson believes there’s more growth ahead as the new service and parts facility helps keep current customers in the fold until it’s time for them to replace their current vehicles.
“We have a business development group that stays in touch with our service customers on a regular basis,” he says. “It’s all about providing them with the best possible experience and care for their vehicles. Was this a huge investment for us? Yes, but it’s already begun to pay off.”