To ensure that their customers had a vehicle to drive when their primary car was out of service, Findlay Chevrolet executives decided in November 2011 it was time to get into the rental car business.
Since then, the fleet of rentals has gone from 20 to 53 and become a popular and successful addition to the dealership at 6800 S. Torrey Pines Blvd.
“This was the brainchild of General Manger Jamaal McCoy, Tony Smith and I,” said John Comport, rental fleet manager. “We crawled for a while before the entire idea absolutely erupted in popularity and we discovered that we needed more vehicles.”
The dealership in the southwest valley has an array of vehicles ranging from a Sonic for $30 a day to a Silverado four-wheel drive crew cab pickup for $65 a day. Other options include Volts for $60 a day, an Equinox for $45 and a Camaro for $60 a day.
“Our customers come from all over,” said Comport, a native Pennsylvanian, who has worked with Findlay Automotive Group for 3½ years after retiring from a large automotive conglomerate in Pittsburgh.
“I really came here to remarry my first wife, who is the love of my life and my best friend,” he said. “A friend of ours in Pittsburgh provides computer work out here and told me to go to Findlay because they’re just like the Baierl family (of auto dealers) back in Pittsburgh.”
Comport said the popularity of the service is illustrated by the fact that customers rent the vehicles and do people who have never walked into the dealership before.
“I have one man who’s a poker player from Florida and he rents every time he comes to Vegas for a tournament. He plays in the World Series of Poker at the Rio; and I have people from California, Utah, Colorado and other states who learn about us by word of mouth,” he said.
Findlay’s involvement in various athletic events also leads to coaches, players and fans renting cars from the dealership, Comport said.
“Nobody in town can beat our rental department. Some days we actually run out of cars, so that just shows how popular this has become. The calls and email requests from customers is unbelievable.”
Comport said one couple even rented a Chevy Tahoe for two months.
“They ordered a car from us and it’s on order,” he said. “Until their car arrives, they’re happy renting a vehicle from me.”
Findlay Chevrolet is part of Findlay Automotive Group, which was founded more than 50 years ago by the late Pete Findlay, whose son, Cliff Findlay, now operates 27 dealerships in Nevada, Utah, Arizona and Idaho.