Customers benefit from Vogel advantage
By Mark Sherry
Pam Biegler photo
Kelly Johnson of Vogel Chevrolet stands in front of a 2012 Silverado 2500 HD with a Z-71 appearance package.

There are indeed advantages to shopping for a vehicle in a smaller community such as Kiel.

Kelly Johnson has been selling new and used vehicles at Vogel Chevrolet for almost 18 years, following a six-year start to his career in Vogel’s Service Department.

Any preconceived notions about auto salespeople are out the window upon entering Vogel Chevrolet in Kiel. In his usual unassuming style, Johnson will give prospective car buyers all the time they need and all the help they want to make sure they make the right choice.

“My best response is to have that person come in here and go one on one,” he said. “We want to get the car or truck that best fits your needs rather than just try to sell you what we have in inventory.”

Johnson has plenty of true stories about the Vogel advantage over the years, and how the lessons he learned from the late Charlie Vogel have benefitted customers.

There is the story about the local farmer who priced a farm truck at Vogel but wanted to check out some dealerships in the surrounding areas. After having a dealer try to push him into a vehicle that was on their lot and he did not want, the farmer called Johnson and said he was heading back to Kiel to order out the specific truck there.

Is the right car?

On occasion, a young person will come in with or without their parents looking for their first set of wheels. They might become enamored with the first car they see, and Johnson could easily write up the deal—but instead he counsels them toward a different, perhaps less expensive vehicle which would make more sense for a young driver.

Then there was the local woman who thought she could get a better deal in Milwaukee. A dealership there offered her $3,000 for her trade-in which she knew was worth more. She left Milwaukee and worked her way north, stopping at several dealerships along the way which offered her a little more for her trade. When she finally got to Vogel Chevrolet, Johnson said her vehicle was worth $6,000 and would give her that in trade. “Are you sure about that trade in allowance?” the woman asked and proceeded to order the vehicle to her specs.

Johnson said, “It comes down to how do I want to be treated at a place?” And that is how he treats his customers at Vogel Chevrolet.

Having worked at Vogel Chevrolet since he was in high school, Johnson knows the names of many of the people who walk through the doors on a daily basis. Many of them are repeat customers, and more and more second generation customers are seeking out Johnson’s help as well.

Exciting options from Chevrolet

Customers these days are seeing some exciting options when they drive onto the lot at Vogel Chevrolet. Johnson said Chevrolet’s Equinox is now Vogel’s number-one seller, having passed up the Impala in the past year—with little sign of the Equinox’s momentum slowing in the year to come. There was a time when people had to wait to get their Equinox delivered, but as of recently Vogel Chevrolet has had several on the lot—both new and used—for people to test drive. Chevrolet added a seven-inch touchscreen radio to the 2012 Equinox, but little else changed from the 2011 model.

That will not be the case for the 2013 Malibu, which is seeing a complete redesign from the ground up. The new Malibu should be on the lot at Vogel’s soon and only will be offered with a four-cylinder engine. The Eco model of the Malibu will feature an electric motor generator with eAssist which will help boost the Malibu’s mileage ratings to 25 city and 37 highway from the current 22/33.

“It’s a contemporary design with a little sporty appeal,” Johnson said.

A completely new vehicle soon will be making its debut on the Vogel Chevrolet lot as well—the Chevrolet Spark. Johnson said it is a very small car but still has four doors and seats four. While more geared to city drivers, he said the Spark could be good for anyone looking for the economy of a four-cylinder, 1.2-liter vehicle which is very easy to park. Vogel is also looking forward to the re-announced Chevy Trailblazer for 2013 as well as an all-new Chevy Colorado. As always, Vogel Chevrolet also keeps

a good supply of quality used vehicles on the lot—most of them local trades. Its experienced Service Department can service any make and model of vehicle, and the same holds true a few paces away at the Body Shop.

All of that is backed by the stability of a dealership which has been in Kiel for 45 years and in business for 85 years. The Vogel family operated a dealership in St. Nazianz from 1927 to 1967 before moving to Kiel, and the third generation of the Vogel family continues to do so.

“If you’re looking for something late-model pre-owned and we don’t have it, we’ll go to the GM auction,” Johnson said, adding that he will locate the new vehicle the buyer is looking for or he will place an order for the new vehicle so the customer gets exactly what he or she wants.

And that last statement describes what Vogel Chevrolet is all about.