Cascade Auto Group Shifts into High Gear

CUYAHOGA FALLS – With the worst of the automotive industry’s inventory crisis now in the rear-view mirror, Cascade Auto Group, Cuyahoga Falls, says it’s revved up for a promising year in retail sales.

“By late fall, deliveries of new cars improved and the buying timeline was considerably shortened,” says Pat Primm, owner and internet marketing manager. “Today it is much easier to get the car you want than it was in mid-summer. With increased sales came more trade-ins, which helped grow the used car inventory.”

Cascade, established in 1969, employs 107 and is home to three dealerships: Audi Cuyahoga Falls, Cascade Mazda, and Cascade Subaru. All three brands experienced inventory problems in 2022 that extended delivery times for customers.

Nationwide, new car sales hit a 10-year low, down nearly 8% compared

to 2021. Used car sales were even worse, declining 11% over the same period, Primm says.

The anemic inventory of new vehicles in 2022 affected the entire auto industry, he relates, and Cascade spent a good part of the year educating its customers about supply shortages.

Primm says despite inventory constraints, Cascade refused to raise retail prices above the vehicle’s window sticker, defying a trend reported in January 2022 that showed 86% of new vehicle buyers nationwide paid more than the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, or MSRP.

Instead, the company launched a marketing campaign across all brands informing buyers that they would never pay above MSRP, Primm says.  The campaign engaged multimedia platforms such as television, social media, digital and print advertising.

Cascade augmented its marketing campaign by contacting as many customers as possible to keep them informed of inventory issues, says Dave Flanagan, general sales manager. The campaign elicited a positive response from customers.

Meanwhile, buyers returned to the showrooms with questions about the industry’s transition to electric vehicles. “We had to educate employees in every position about EVs so that everyone could become more comfortable with EV conversations,” says managing partner Michelle Primm.

Sales and service technicians underwent EV training, with the first technicians being “high-voltage” certified by Audi, she says. Last year, EV charging stations were installed at Cascade’s 22-acre campus.

“It was a year filled with challenges, but one that left us optimistic about 2023 and proud of the way we handled adversity,” Michelle Primm says. “We sharpened our focus on communication and education. The payoff was customer loyalty and modest growth. We’re happy with the way our staff responded to the demands of 2022 and look forward to a much stronger 2023.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.