More than 30 years ago, Pete Findlay added the first import franchise, Subaru, to his flourishing Findlay Automotive Group. Over time, Subaru of Las Vegas thrived in a couple of different Las Vegas locations, including storefronts on Fremont Street and in the Valley Automall. But, this year, a more permanent, signature Findlay facility was built at 5385 W. Sahara Ave. for the Japanese manufacturer.
"We wanted to be centrally located for our large customer base," said Subaru of Las Vegas General Manager Burton Hughes. "This is a classic Findlay design and a good representation for the Subaru brand."
The two-story, floor-to-ceiling glass-walled main showroom is bright, airy and large enough to feature Subaru's complete model line. The rest of the 14,000-square-foot facility includes sales offices, four service advisers (including a dedicated high-performance service consultant), a 12-bay service department, complete parts (including high-performance products) counter and a customer lounge with a well-stocked refreshment area -- the STI Café -- named after Subaru's top performance vehicle.
Recognized for its Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive technology, all Subaru products have superior vehicle traction, which means better handling and cornering. "It's absolutely wonderful in bad weather, but even on dry roads, the system enhances all maneuvers," Hughes said. "It certainly comes into play during braking and cornering, which can be very helpful when our roads become slick after it rains."
Subaru offers its customers lots of versatility that starts with the entry-level Impreza sedan. Starting around $18,000, the Impreza can be upgraded to the WRX STI that features a 305 horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder Subaru Boxer engine. The Legacy sport sedan offers powerplant choices that include a 2.5-liter four-cylinder (turbo and nonturbocharged) and a 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine. The Legacy also boasts the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's highest crash test rating with five out of five stars.
Probably best known for its crossover and economical SUVs, Subaru's Forester, Outback and Tribeca models appeal to drivers who want durability and drivability. The Forester, which earned Motor Trend's 2009 Sport/Utility of the Year, is known for its versatility and economy. Outdoor enthusiasts love the Outback for its ready-for-anything features like the 65.4-cubic-foot cargo area, roof rack system and roomy interior. Rated best for driving in the snow, Hughes noted that chains aren't needed for ski trips to Mount Charleston or Lake Tahoe with the vehicle's all-wheel-drive system. Finally, the Tribeca is designed to be much more than an SUV, offering style, space and the impressive 256 horsepower, 3.6-liter six-cylinder Subaru Boxer engine.
Savvy Subaru buyers are also aware of the manufacturer's low impact on the environment. Select Forester, Legacy and Outback models meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency certified SmartWay exhaust emissions and greenhouse gas scores. In addition, Subaru of Indiana became the first manufacturing facility in the U.S. to reach zero landfill status, meaning nothing from its manufacturing efforts ever goes into a landfill. Subaru's facilities in Japan have also achieved similar goals.
"Our customer demographic tends to be in the 25 to 49 age group, highly educated, family-oriented, outdoor enthusiasts and interested in the welfare of our environment," said Hughes. "And, Subaru supports a lot of environmental projects. In fact, I think Subaru was green before Al Gore was born."
Hughes said Subaru owners keep their cars longer than any other brand on the road. "They're loyal and that shows in our sales. We're up 11 percent over last year for this dealership," said Hughes, who is marking his fourth year as general manager.
To enhance the Subaru experience, the manufacturer offers its customers membership in Subie Club (www.subieclub.com), which is dedicated to the high-performance aftermarket sector. Besides discount offers and ownership tips, the organization also promotes participation events, like autocross speed events.
Subaru of Las Vegas is located at 5385 W. Sahara Ave. (just west of Decatur Boulevard). For more information, call 495-2100 or go to www.SubaruofLasVegas.com.