Guided by Prius

How Prius goes the distance and delivers for a Virginia dealer
by Dan Nied
Nov/Dec 2019
Guided by Prius
Leading the Way
Dogboy and Dog LLC owner Elliott Bassett needed a durable, comfortable and fuel efficient vehicle to guide trucks carrying oversized loads across the country. Prius fit the bill, and Bassett has bought six of them from Steven Toyota.
If there’s a secret to successful dealing, the president and general manager of Steven Toyota will tell you it’s all about relationships. Within the walls of Ryan Sodikoff’s Harrisonburg, Virginia, dealership, that human element is downright sacred. 
“We care about that one customer,” says Sodikoff. “I will sacrifice my entire day and focus on that one customer when I hear they need something.”
That brings clients like Elliott Bassett back time and again. Already family friends, their relationship blossomed symbiotically in 2014 when Bassett created a pilot company. Dogboy and Dog LLC safely guides oversized loads, including heavy machinery, nuclear power equipment and construction vehicles, across the country.
“It’s a big job,” Bassett says. “We make sure they stay on state permitted roads and away from low bridges and overpasses.” 
But to do that, Bassett needed the right fit: a durable, comfortable, fuel-efficient vehicle to guide loads more than 12 feet wide, 14 and a half feet tall and 50 tons. He turned to Sodikoff for guidance, and after conducting a needs assessment with his team, they suggested the perfect solution: the Prius.

“That team is dialed in on product knowledge,” says Bassett. “We attach top signs and light bars which add weight and wind resistance. No matter the conditions, the Prius takes it in stride. You just can’t beat it.”
The Steven Toyota tech team spends several hours outfitting each hybrid on Bassett’s fleet, even pulling out front seats and collapsing back ones so drivers can sleep during their carefully choreographed voyages.
In the past five years, Bassett has purchased six cars from Sodikoff. His crew travels up to 700 miles a day and more than 100,000 miles a year per Prius. When oil changes are due every 10,000 miles, Bassett’s team will often travel 500 miles, bypassing other dealerships and service stations, just so they can service with Steven Toyota. 
“When I saw that, it was a wakeup call that I have some beyond loyal customers here,” says Sodikoff, who has even welcomed drivers into his home for much-needed rest and relaxation. “So, it’s my job to accommodate them. It’s simply all about that human factor.” 
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