Lexus of Henderson, the latest gem in the Valley Automall's treasure trove of automotive dealerships and showrooms, officially opened its doors last month with a gala event at its new 10.2-acre, 90,000-square-foot, two-story facility.
Boasting an approximately $35 million total price tag that includes nearly $5 million in environmentally conscientious architectural and building techniques, Lexus of Henderson has already been recognized for its efforts by earning a gold-level Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The dealership is the nation's first ground-up automotive merchant to earn this distinction.
LEED is a voluntary, consensus-based national rating system for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. The program's objective is to transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated. A grading system judges all aspects of construction from Lexus of Henderson's white-colored all-concrete parking lot (to reduce heat gain) to the high-pressure, low-flow plumbing fixtures and drought-tolerant desert landscaping being incorporated into the dealership's design.
Hosted by William Johnson III, Lexus of Henderson's general sales manager, the grand opening event took place Nov. 17, when guests were encouraged to explore the entire facility and view Lexus' 2011 new-vehicle lineup.
"We're all very proud," Johnson said, as he personally led several wide-eyed guests on a tour. According to Johnson, the site can house more than 450 vehicles, which means new and preowned buyers will always have a wide range of choices.
At full staff, Johnson predicts about 85 people will be employed at the dealership, which includes a full maintenance department. Here is where it's obvious a lot of thought went into the entire service experience.
First and foremost, maintenance and service customers will not be intermingled with vehicle purchasing customers, which Johnson believes will reduce confusion and pedestrian cross-traffic.
The service greeting area is four lanes wide and then customers are invited inside where lounges offer wide-screen television areas, as well as a separate work station room. Service customers will be offered personal computer devices to use while they wait or they can jump onto one of the lounge area's desktop computers. There's also a kids' room, opulent restrooms and a beverage/snack bar.
Future expansion, according to Johnson, includes Lexus Luxury Express appointments that will guarantee selected service completion in less than an hour.
"We want our customers to know when they purchase a vehicle from Lexus of Henderson, that's just the start of the relationship," Johnson said.
Even the finance lounge, which can be one of the most intimidating places, is trimmed in warm, subdued earth tones.
Behind the main showroom and customer lounges is the service department. As impressive as the tour had been to this point, this area was notable for several reasons. First, it was new and clean, but we tend to think it's probably going to look like this all the time. Even the car lifts operate cleanly, using water and air instead of hydraulic fluid.
The floors are sealed with a ¼-inch thick product that reflects light, which reduces the need for artificial lighting. It also provides added grip for safety.
According to Johnson, not only can the lifts raise a car 10- to 15-percent higher and faster, but they're great for the environment.
There's also the impressive in-ground alignment unit and locally built, uniform tool boxes for each technician to store his or her tools of the trade. The parts department offers a separate area for wholesale and retail customers, as well as a 270-tire storage rotisserie.
We saved the best for last, and that's the main showroom. Its two-story, glass-front architectural detail provides the kind of environment potential and loyal Lexus buyers demand when shopping for a new vehicle.
Take customer Joel Sher for example. He's owned 14 Lexus vehicles, including a 1988 LS400 with serial number 300. His current car, a 2010 Lexus LS460, is "a big cruiser," Sher said.
"I just love that car," Sher said, referring to the LS460. "I find it commendable that Lexus keeps working hard to better its business," said the president of International Hotel Group, which oversees several hotel chains, including Holiday Inn. "It comes down to personal care, keeping customers happy and willingness to go beyond what's expected. Lexus understands these parts of the business very well. In fact, I know they'd be glad to see me even if I wasn't here to buy a car or for service."
Lexus of Henderson is located at 7736 Eastgate Road in the Valley Automall. For more information, call 228-7736 or visit www.lexusofhenderson.com.