Founded in 1911, Wisconsin-based Dahl Automotive has been in the automotive business for more than a century. The company began its days in the car business selling Ford Model T’s from a family general store, and it now represents nine brands with locations in Wisconsin and Minnesota. 

“Five generations of our family have been in this business,” President Andrew Dahl says. “Because we are a family business and have been in these communities for so long, we are known for community involvement, delivering a great guest experience and leadership development.”

 

Offering Choice

Today, the company’s portfolio includes Dahl Chevrolet Buick GMC and Dahl Toyota in Winona, Minn.; Dahl Ford Lincoln in Onalaska, Wis.; and Dahl Hyundai Mazda Subaru  in La Crosse, Wis. The company’s goal is to provide a consistently positive guest experience across brands and communities. 

“We spend a lot of time on developing our corporate culture, and we believe in humility and setting an example that people want to follow,” Dahl says. “We want our dealerships to be places where people want to work and deliver a great experience. That can be a competitive advantage because it leads to lower turnover and better relationships with guests.”

Because it has nine different brands, Dahl Automotive is able to offer a wide selection to its guests. The company has acquired additional brands so it has extensive options for the markets in terms of new and used inventory, as well as enhancing convenience . 

“We try to make it very convenient for our guests to come to us,” Dahl says. “We have Quick Lane and express service offerings in our service bays, and we have worked to find ways to speed up the process on both the sales and service side. 
 
Dahl Automotive’s success as a company is driven by sales volume. Therefore, the company puts a lot of emphasis on the front-end sales process to make sure it can capture as many successful sales as possible. From there, the focus turns to guest retention.  
 
“If they buy from us, we have to figure out how to make sure they get service from us,” Dahl explains. “Retention on the back end in sales and service is what gets guests coming back to us. In addition, because we have ancillary businesses like our body shop, sign shop and auto accessory sales, we can provide upstream opportunities and give our guests additional options. Those aspects of our business help to keep guests within the Dahl Automotive world for additional services.” 
 

Continued Development

Investing in infrastructure and operations is what Dahl Automotive believes are key for its future. The company works to develop its team into the next generation of leaders, and it has invested into an image update for its Ford dealership as well as a new Chevrolet Buick GMC store complete with LED lighting and in-floor heating fueled by a waste oil burner. Dahl Automotive is also in the midst of an image update for Toyota and is looking to do updates for Subaru and other imports. 
 
“It is important to stay up-to-date with manufacturer image programs to deliver a good experience for both guests and team members,” Dahl says. “It improves the working environment, and the equipment in our shops provide consistent, uniform, clean and visually appealing environments for technicians which improves productivity.”
 
Dahl Automotive understands that convenience and guest service are more important than ever. Guests are more knowledgeable because of the ability to conduct research online, so service is what brings them back. 
 
“Brand loyalty isn’t as big as it used to be, and there is less room for error,” Dahl explains. “We must provide a timely and positive experience.” 
 
The company’s focus is on sustained growth. Consolidation in the business will provide expansion opportunities, and Dahl Automotive aims to grow in ways that connect its product offerings with its communities. 
 
“Sustained growth will allow us to build on what we have,” Dahl says. “We are passionate about leadership development, and we want to create a retail experience that values individuals, grows leaders and provides exceptional guest service. The leaders in our organization understand that they are here to serve their team, which helps people feel valued and creates a trusting environment that leads to great guest service.” 

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