Growth Report 2: Sweeney Chevrolet Becomes #1 Cochran
BOARDMAN, Ohio – After 101 years, Sweeney Chevrolet marked its final year in 2022, as Pittsburgh’s #1 Cochran Chevrolet Buick GMC completed its acquisition of the Boardman dealerships in January.
“Although the official transfer of ownership to #1 Cochran occurred Jan. 20, the process was well underway, behind the scenes, much of the preceding year,” says Rob Cochran, president of #1 Cochran.
Founded in 1965, #1 Cochran sold GM vehicles exclusively for many years before incorporating other auto manufacturers into its offerings. Today, #1 Cochran sells 19 domestic and imported new-car brands with 32 franchises throughout western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio.
For 2023, the Boardman stores are focused on the road ahead and making sure the transition is a smooth one for both customers and the Sweeney staff who are now part of the #1 Cochran team.
The fact that almost all managers and employees stayed on as the company changed hands is seen as a positive sign by Cochran. “We recognized right away that there was a great working environment in Boardman, with strong leadership and dedicated team members. Our goal is to keep the momentum they’ve established going strong,” he says.
Specific areas of focus will help #1 Cochran address the new normal in its Boardman business, he says. First is omnichannel car buying.
“The fact that most people perform some aspect of the car buying process online isn’t going to change. We’ve made the in-store and online experiences equally rewarding and allow customers to seamlessly move back and forth between them throughout the process,” Cochran says.
“Express way,” #1 Cochran’s online car-buying portal at CochranCars.com, makes the integration possible. Customers are encouraged to complete any or all of the buying steps online to spend less time – or no time – in the showroom. Free home delivery is available within 300 miles.
Reserving and ordering vehicles is another focus area. Inventories are better than they’ve been in a long time but are still not back to pre-pandemic levels, Cochran says. With sales remaining strong, the dealership wants customers to know they can get the exact model they want by reserving the vehicle online, by phone or in person.
Maintaining the momentum already in place, #1 Cochran will stay at the forefront of EV technology with extensive training of product specialists and technicians.
The dealership also will remain committed to the community and continue the charitable efforts that have become a calling card of the store, Cochran says.
Pictured at top: Alexis Sweeney Blackann introduced Rob Cochran to the community Jan. 20.
Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.