Mopar show builds brand recognition

Mopar show builds brand recognition

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Lansdale Auto Group’s All Mopar Show relives the glory days. This year, 500 people attended, and $3,500 was raised.

Mopar magic

A Pennsylvania dealership group’s annual Mopar car show builds brand recognition and helps boost vehicle sales and service traffic.

Muscle cars and winter coats may seem like an unlikely pairing for a dealership promotional event, but at the annual All Mopar Show held by Lansdale Auto Group in Montgomeryville, Pa., they fit together as cozily as a 426 Hemi V-8 nestled inside a ’68 Plymouth Road Runner.

The event, held annually for the last three years on a Sunday in June, rekindles the heyday of the legendary 1960s and ’70s Mopar street cars while raising money for winter coats for kids.

The one-day event also raises something else: the profile of Lansdale’s two dealerships, which sell Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram vehicles under one rooftop and Fiats in an adjoining store.

“It’s tough to put a number on” the financial impact, said Geoff Haenn, partner in the dealership group. “But it’s more about people coming in for service and bodywork throughout the year who wouldn’t come otherwise. We also open the doors to the showroom all day, and there are people in there constantly. Boots on the ground is worth a lot to us.”

Revving up

The event helps vehicle sales, though Lansdale doesn’t have an estimate of by how much. The stores, about 30 miles north of Philadelphia, sold 892 new and 539 used vehicles in 2017.

“It absolutely impacts our bottom line,” said Michaela Brass, a sales rep who also manages social media for both stores and directs production of the Mopar show. “I recently sold a Jeep to someone who was referred to us by someone who’s attended all three car shows. The event really drives awareness to surrounding areas. … It brings people into our dealerships in between shows, not just during them.”

This year, the show raised $3,500, which was donated to Driving Away the Cold, an organization that provides winter coats for children in need. The program is run by the Auto Dealers CARing for Kids Foundation, a nonprofit arm of the Auto Dealers Association of Greater Philadelphia, which includes more than 180 dealerships.

The money is raised through registration fees from Mopar car owners, sale of raffle tickets for donated items, T-shirt sales and donations from participants, which are collected at a food stand with Mopar-themed offerings such as Road Runner roast pork sandwiches.

Lansdale hosted the first show in 2016 at the request of a local Mopar club looking for a new location to hold its annual car meet. That year, 80 owners showed up to show off Plymouth, Dodge and Chrysler classics. This year, 202 owners participated, and more than 500 people attended, Brass told Automotive News.

“We’ve had people from New York, Maryland, New Jersey, Delaware and Virginia — even Australia,” she said. Showstoppers included a rare 1970 Chrysler Valiant from Australia, a 1970 Plymouth AAR ‘Cuda purchased new at Lansdale and a 1969 Plymouth GTX that won the best of show award.

Brass, known locally as Miss Mopar, has restored a 1972 Dodge Charger and owns a 1964 Dodge Power Wagon panel truck and a 1971 Road Runner. She’s a fourth-generation employee at Lansdale, and her Miss Mopar Facebook page has more than 22,500 followers. Her father, an engine machinist by trade, still works at the dealership, she said.

“I grew up working on engines,” Brass said. “Mopar is a way of life for me and my family.”

“The event really drives awareness to surrounding areas. … It brings people into our dealerships in between shows, not just during them.” Michaela Brass Lansdale Auto Group

‘Amazing return’

Lansdale spends about $4,000 on the event, and most of that goes toward food expenses, followed by the cost of rental tables, chairs and tents, a DJ and signage. But it’s money well-spent, Haenn said.

“I could chew that up running an ad in the newspaper,” he noted. “Attracting that many people to an event for that low of a cost provides an amazing return on investment.”

Putting on the show means moving more than 400 vehicles off the dealerships’ lots the night before the event to property the retailer owns across the street. Volunteers and a handful of Lansdale employees provide most of the staffing needed to stage the event. Brass promotes the show primarily via Facebook, and the dealerships’ location along busy State Route 309 also attracts passers-by, she said.

Event turnout — and the service visits and vehicle sales associated with showgoers in the months that follow — makes the effort worthwhile.

“There’s something magical about having a bunch of Mopar cars idling in the lot, waiting to get registered,” Brass said. “Nothing else quite puts a smile on my face like that.”

Mopar magic

A Pennsylvania dealership group’s annual Mopar car show builds brand recognition and helps boost vehicle sales and service traffic.

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