Steve VanGorder talks about branching out with his own dealership

After a 20-year career with Jeff Schmitt Auto Group, former general manager Steve VanGorder is venturing out on his own with SVG Motors.

VanGorder said SVG — which conveniently sounds like his initials — stands for Superior Value Guarantee, and he said he sees an opportunity in the market for late model cars.

VanGorder shared some of his thoughts about the new business with me.

Q: Why did you branch out on your own?

A: Probably the same reason most everyone does. I was ready to go out and do my own thing.

Q: You did the commercials for Jeff Schmitt. Are you going to do your own commercials?

A: Yes I am. I think this is going to be a rebirth and new beginning for me. I need to rebrand myself for SVG motors. I’m still the goofy guy. I don’t take myself too seriously. I enjoy people and having fun. Our colors are a glowing orange and we have matching shoes. It’s a fun atmosphere.

Q: What’s your business niche?

A: The plan is to compete against the new cars in the market. I think there’s an opportunity for late model cars — three months old to four years old — that are 50 percent off the price of a new car. We also give three years worth of free oil changes, free dent repair and the best value guarantee. I’ve always been kind of a GM guy. But I’ve also been involved with Nissan, Mazda, Cadillac, and on the lot we have everything from Mercedes-Benz to Kias.

Q: How is the market for car sales locally?

A: We did a soft opening in May. We started with one car, just gradually trying to get the business ready to go. We sold a dozen cars without any advertising. If that’s any indication, I think the business is very strong.
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