Jim Piper of LA Auto Company in Lewiston opened his doors for business in February 2009 and since then he has concentrated on doing everything right. In a challenging economy where competition is tight, he has dedicated himself to providing his customers service that reflects his commitment to them and to the vehicles he sells.
“We specialize in inventory that is meticulously serviced and restored to ‘almost new’ condition,” explained Piper. “We want our vehicles to be dependable, long-lasting, well-maintained, and reasonably priced. That’s why we offer the three-month/3,000-mile warranty.” He continued, “I have two on-site mechanics and one full-time reconditioning professional. We want to sell our customers used vehicles that they can feel proud to drive. When it comes to preparing a car for the lot, my staff knows not to skimp.”
According to Piper, the business over the past year has carved itself a niche in used foreign cars. He admits the direction was not intentional; his lot features a wide inventory of used vehicles ranging from Ford Mustangs and Honda Accords to Audis, Volvos, and Mercedes Benz.
“I have a passion for cars,” said Piper. “Every Thursday I travel to New Hampshire and Massachusetts for auctions. I go early, before the auction starts, to view the inventory, check for vehicle condition, and determine what will be required to move a car from the back of my building to the front.” He laughs when he says he searches for cars “with eyes,” those that catch the attention by their design, color and styling. He focuses on the high-end features including moon roofs, leather interiors, and heated seats, among other details, and generally tries to stay with 2004 or newer models with mileage under 100,000 miles.
“We can also locate specific vehicles for customers,” said Piper. “I can sit down with a customer to determine budget, features, make and model of a car of his or her choice. If customers know what they want, I can find it.” And from the first to the last car he has located for a customer, every one has left his lot happily satisfied.
A car “with eyes” is exactly what brought Steve Roop of Auburn to LA Auto Company. “I saw Jim driving around in a car that I liked the looks of. When I stopped in, he had already sold it, but he said he knew what I was looking for and he went to auction,” Roop said. “I was on vacation at the time. He brought back a beautiful 2003 Mercedes S Series sedan and I went in and bought it.”
Roop, who has always driven used vehicles and trucks says that while he likes the higher end inventory LA Auto Company offers, he especially likes the convenience of local servicing for his new car. ‘A lot of what can make owning cars like Volvo, Mercedes, and Audi expensive is servicing them out-of-town,” added Roop.
Pete Nadeau of Greene, Maine, is another satisfied customer of LA Auto Company.
“We purchased two cars from Jim, one for my son, and another for my wife,” said Nadeau. “Jim bent over backwards to make sure we were happy. He called me from the auction when he was searching for a car for my son. Even after the sale, if we had an issue, Jim took care of us. I was impressed. He’s been very good to us.”
A year ago, Piper set out on a business venture to build a better car buying experience for his customers, “one less painful than a visit to the dentist.” A year later, he has happy buyers, including Roop and Nadeau, confirming his success. “It was a fantastic experience.”