//Charlie Park – Get to Know the GM in Today’s Podcast

Charlie Park – Get to Know the GM in Today’s Podcast

In this podcast from February, we sat down with the one and only Charlie Park, General Manager here at Toyota of Glendora. Listen in on our conversation covering Park’s 32 years in the automotive industry, Express Maintenance, Toyota’s latest vehicles and more at the family-owned Toyota of Glendora!

Below you’ll find the transcript, but if you want to listen to it in podcast form, check out our new podcast page or click below! You can also watch it on our YouTube page.




Matt: 00:00 Hello, listeners. My name is Matt with Think Creative. And I have two very special guests with me today. One of them is Miss Shirley. You probably are already aware of who she is and what she is to our company. She has tons of experience in the auto space. So I figure this should make for a great conversation seeing it is our first time here with Toyota of Glendora. We are going to be dropping a ton of information, a ton of content about this store, what they are to this community of Glendora. So I figure for the listeners, they might want to hear from the head honcho himself. So today, we actually have a little bit of time to be speaking with Mr. Charlie Park, who is the general manager of Toyota of Glendora. Mr. Park, thank you so much for joining us today.
Charlie: 00:43 Thank you. Thank you for coming in.
Matt: 00:44 Appreciate your time.
Charlie: 00:46 All right.
Matt: 00:47 I guess, how about you just go ahead and just give some of the listeners a little bit of background about yourself and what brought you here to the store.
Charlie: 00:55 Well, I’ve been in the automobile business for about 32 years. Started right out of high school.
Shirley: 01:01 That’s a long time.
Charlie: 01:02 And I’ve been with Toyota for probably over 25 years now. And I was with a small, little dealership in [Almany?] called [Lumbo?] Toyota for about 20 years.
Shirley: 01:12 It is a small, little dealership.
Charlie: 01:13 Yeah. It’s a little small little place. And after that, I was with the [inaudible] Automotive Group for six years. And they sent me through a [inaudible] University for automobile management. So general management. And so I got my certificate back in 2016. And then last year, around April, a position here opened up at Glendora. And I got the opportunity to come and run this store. So I work for the [Sagner’s?], and they’ve owned Toyota Glendora, now, for about 25 years. So a family-owned business. So it’s a really good atmosphere, and I love being here. So, yeah.
Matt: 01:50 So you’ve only been at this store for about, what was it, a year? Year and a half?
Charlie: 01:53 Less than a year. Less than a year.
Matt: 01:54 Less than a year? Okay. What is it about the store that you’ve kind of already loved?
Charlie: 02:00 Well, I’ll tell you, when you walk in here– and as a customer and employee, first thing when you step onto the grounds here, you feel like it’s home. And when I first came and interviewed last year, as soon as I walked in, I knew this was a place I want to be at. Because you know you used to have that feeling when you go somewhere?
Matt: 02:16 Yeah, definitely.
Charlie: 02:17 Yeah. Yeah. So–
Shirley: 02:17 Well, do you think [it goals?] are based on because they’re a family-owned, they care about their people?
Charlie: 02:22 Yes. Yes. One of the biggest things about Toyota of Glendora is they care about, not only the customers, of course, the employees. Because, of course, the employees take care of our customers. We have a lot of long-term employees. I’ve got lots of people that have been here 15 years, 20 years, 25 years.
Shirley: 02:36 Oh, wow. That’s rare. That’s rare for sure.
Charlie: 02:37 Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So we have very little turnover, as they say.
Shirley: 02:42 They love to be here, of course.
Matt: 02:43 Yeah. Makes sense.
Charlie: 02:44 Sure.
Matt: 02:45 I can tell you, I can vouch for you. This is my first time on the premises. And I’ve already seen– it just feels like a whole unique type of store. This store is unlike–
Shirley: 02:53 Different from other stores. Absolutely.
Matt: 02:54 Very different. And, I mean, we were greeted with smiles. Even before we walked through the door people were already greeting us. Letting us know, “What can we do to help?” We actually got a little bit of a tour earlier of the store. And the whole setup is just something unique. So I’m anxious to get started and to do some marketing for this place. It sounds great.
Charlie: 03:16 Good. Thank you.
Matt: 03:17 Yeah. So what’re your goals? I know you’ve only been here for a short time. What’re your goals for this store?
Charlie: 03:23 Well, our goals are to grow the business, of course, right? Obviously, we want to sell more cars, right, service more cars. And we’re going the right direction. Our market share keeps increasing. Especially on the used car side, we’ve made tremendous improvements in used cars on the service side. As I was telling you guys earlier, we’re one of the few dealerships out there that actually have express maintenance.
Shirley: 03:46 What is express maintenance?
Charlie: 03:47 Well, express maintenance is basically where you can come in and get an oil change done in less than 90 minutes. Yeah. And a lot of dealerships, they’re so big it takes three to four hours just for an oil change. We also provide major services. So they have to be here for a few hours. We offer Lyft rides so you don’t have to wait around.
Shirley: 04:08 Lyft rides?
Matt: 04:08 Lyft rides?
Charlie: 04:09 Yeah. So we– yeah.
Shirley: 04:10 Tell us about Lyft rides.
Charlie: 04:11 So what happens is that instead of waiting around for your car to get done, we’ll give you a Lyft ride back to your office or your home, and then give you a ride back to pick up your car. So it’s really convenient for our customers.
Shirley: 04:22 So I could drop my car off at the service department and go shopping, and do whatever I need to do, and then you guys will [inaudible] and pick me up?
Charlie: 04:30 Yes. Yes.
Shirley: 04:31 Absolutely. Wow.
Matt: 04:32 You see what I’m saying?
Shirley: 04:33 [It must be?] nice.
Matt: 04:34 This is different. This is different.
Shirley: 04:36 Absolutely. There is a Walmart right across the street. Wow. There I go. Do my shopping a little bit and then come back.
Matt: 04:44 How long has that been in place? Just because I’m used to having the shuttle. Maybe a shuttle ride, or–
Charlie: 04:47 Right. When I got here last year, the number one complaint I got with shuttles was the timing. So “I’ve been waiting 30 minutes,” or, “Why do I have to sit in a car with four different strangers and do kind of a little tour?” So basically, when you go with alternative transportation, like Lyft, is that you have unlimited shuttle rides, right? Because there’s unlimited amount of drivers out there. And so I eliminated the complaints of people waiting for their shuttle.
Matt: 05:18 That’s genius.
Shirley: 05:18 Because usually, with other stores, it’s probably a 30-minute interim, or probably an hour interim just to wait for your timing. And then you probably have to wait until they drop off all the guests and then it’s your turn. And then the same thing when you get picked up. Possibly, you have to wait for you to be– here at the dealership to service your car.
Charlie: 05:39 Right.
Matt: 05:40 Right. So real quick, just going back to your express service. How do you think you’re able to kind of cut down the time? Less than half the time that I would spend at another dealership to get my car even oil changed, something simple as that. How is it that you guys manage to kind of speed it up a little?
Charlie: 05:58 Well, because we have an entire staff of technicians. We have dedicated teams just for Toyota Express Maintenance. So there’s a cost to it, of course. I mean, compared to a lot of stores, they don’t have dedicated teams. And if they do, they’re very limited as far as the resources. But I’ve got three teams dedicated just for Express Maintenance.
Shirley: 06:20 Cool. Plus, they have to be trained and certified for that, so. For sure.
Matt: 06:22 Right. Right. Yeah. So I did tell you I was pretty excited when I first stepped on the premises. I was checking out some of the new vehicles and everything. I’m just wondering, I’m hoping you’re okay with me test driving some later?
Charlie: 06:36 You can test drive and buy as many as you want.
Matt: 06:38 And buy? I see how you did that.
Shirley: 06:40 [crosstalk].
Matt: 06:41 That’s how you get to general management. What are some of the vehicles, though, that you’re most looking forward to this year?
Charlie: 06:48 Well, of course, everyone knows about the new Supra coming out. And that’s coming out in a couple of months. Right. Right. So, yeah, the new RAV4 is here already. And that’s a beautiful car. It’s a good seller. We have a new Corolla coming out. And also, a Corolla hybrid that’s going to be coming out. And then sometime throughout the year there’s going to be a brand new Highlander too. So Toyota’s always in the forefront of technology, and design, and, yeah.
Shirley: 07:15 Safety.
Charlie: 07:15 Safety, of course.
Shirley: 07:16 Huge. Huge.
Charlie: 07:17 Absolutely.
Matt: 07:17 Yeah. That is huge. And, I mean–
Shirley: 07:19 The name, for sure.
Matt: 07:20 Oh, yeah. Definitely. You always think about reliability when you think of Toyota. So I tend to have some car issues a lot, so I’ll definitely probably be talking to some of your salesmen here and maybe help me out a little bit.
Charlie: 07:32 Yeah. They’ll take care of you.
Matt: 07:36 And then, Miss Shirley, if you could just sign for me for a car?
Shirley: 07:40 Oh, of course.
Matt: 07:44 Well, I’m definitely interested– obviously, see the Supra when it does get here and things like that. So I’m hoping we’ll be able to invite some of the cameras and our listeners. Maybe talk to–
Shirley: 07:54 Absolutely. Just to educate.
Matt: 07:57 Oh, yeah. Definitely. I was young. I used to play PlayStation a lot when I was younger. And that was my car, man, the Toyota Supra.
Shirley: 08:04 [crosstalk]?
Matt: 08:05 On Gran Turismo, I had to have that. So, yeah, I’m excited about that one. So the RAV4 is, obviously, a vehicle that’s kind of stuck out for a while now. Kind of like a smaller SUV, it started as. Have you seen it kind of like the– how is the crowd, I should say, kind of–?
Charlie: 08:26 Well, I can say about the RAV, it draws probably a mix. I mean, young people, middle-aged people, even older people. So it’s got enough youth that a first-time buyer, if they want a little SUV, it’s a good way to start.
Shirley: 08:40 But also, probably a small family as well.
Charlie: 08:42 Small family. Right. Right. Right.
Matt: 08:44 True. True. I’m one of those guys that likes to– I don’t have many family as far as children or anything like that. But I do have a ton of dogs. So I love to just be able to take them. Let them hop in the back, man, and let’s go enjoy a trail. So a RAV4, it always seemed like a fun vehicle to own. As far as getting on the freeway, we all know how horrible it is out here, right? Freeways, there’s tons of traffic all the time. Do you see Toyota always, maybe, stepping their game up as far as the hybrids are coming? I mean, obviously, you guys have that Prius and everything. So you’re saying other vehicles now are going to be having that same type of technology?
Charlie: 09:25 Right. So what’s happened was that it started off with a Prius, right, and then they went to a plug-in, which is a Prius Prime. That’s another version of the Prius. It’s called a Prime. And then, we also make a RAV4 hybrid, which is coming out in the next couple of months. And then, let’s see. What else is there coming out? So we got the RAV4, we got the RAV4 hybrid. And then the Corolla hybrid I spoke about earlier, that’s new. And then for the people that are inclement weathers, like east coast or up north, they’ve got the Prius all-wheel drive coming out.
Matt: 09:59 What?
Charlie: 10:00 Yes.
Shirley: 10:00 A Prius all-wheel drive?
Matt: 10:01 All-wheel?
Charlie: 10:02 Yes. Yep. Yep. So I think that’s going to be a hit. Yeah.
Shirley: 10:06 Great. Of course. So Toyota’s definitely always innovating and [inaudible].
Matt: 10:11 Oh, they are. Yeah. I mean, before I got here, I was kind of reading some things. Reading blogs, reading articles, Car and Driver, stuff like that just to kind of see what Toyota was going to get into for 2019. We’re still early in the year, so I figure there will be some other things dropping. But it’s one of the things that you always read about is just how they’re really in the forefront when it comes to that stuff. Comfort, new designs, everything like that. That new Corolla that you were speaking of has that been redesigned as well, or is it kind of–?
Charlie: 10:41 Yes. It’s been redesigned. Yeah. So it’s got a new body, it’s got a new power screen, suspension–
Shirley: 10:46 [crosstalk].
Charlie: 10:47 –and of course, the added hybrid. So, yeah.
Matt: 10:51 Which is what we need out here. Do you still get the– when you have a hybrid, are you able to do car pooling?
Charlie: 10:57 No, not anymore. You have to have a plug-in or all electric. Yeah.
Matt: 11:01 Oh, okay. All righty. So I need the Prime?
Charlie: 11:03 Yes, you need a Prime.
Shirley: 11:05 You need to get the Prime.
Charlie: 11:07 In fact, I’ve got some of co-workers that have Primes. And they contest that they get up to 90 miles a gallon. It’s amazing.
Shirley: 11:16 90 miles a gallon?
Charlie: 11:16 90. Up to 90. Yes.
Matt: 11:18 Okay. Definitely want to look into that then. So listeners–
Shirley: 11:22 [crosstalk] or that commute a lot, for sure. This county over here.
Charlie: 11:26 You’re getting anywhere from 20 to 25 miles on just electric only. And then, plus, then you have the hybrid system. And so if you plug it in, and bring it to work, and then plug it in again. So, yeah, plenty of range.
Matt: 11:40 Loving that. So I just want to make sure that the listeners are aware. I mean, obviously, it feels good to come down here. We talked about how just inviting everyone is here. It’s a whole unique experience here. I think everyone will agree with that. But for those of us that kind of are strapped on time, obviously, there’s lives. People got to work, people have families, things like that. Do you suggest at all people just check you out online? And are they able to maybe make appointments online and everything like that?
Charlie: 12:12 Yes. Absolutely. You can make appointments for service. You can also buy a car online too.
Matt: 12:17 Buy a car online?
Charlie: 12:18 Absolutely. Absolutely. You just send us an inquiry through our website. And then we can do off-site delivery. So we’ll actually bring the car to you.
Shirley: 12:29 So you guys started incorporating that?
Charlie: 12:30 Yes. Absolutely. For convenience.
Shirley: 12:31 Wow. How does that work?
Charlie: 12:33 Well, I mean, for a lot of customer that don’t have time.
Shirley: 12:37 Which is probably a lot of people.
Charlie: 12:38 Right. Yeah. And also, they want to avoid the hassle of coming to a dealership. We want to make it convenient for our customers.
Matt: 12:45 Okay. And listeners, if you’re out there, if you wanted to go ahead and jump online. It’s toyotaofglendora.com. Now, I know they do have a text-type of feature on there where you can actually type in any questions that you might have. Are they speaking to an actual person or is that some–?
Charlie: 13:05 Yeah. So an actual person on the live chat.
Matt: 13:07 Perfect. And, again, they’re not pressuring you to buy anything, it’s just answering questions?
Charlie: 13:11 No. That’s correct.
Shirley: 13:12 And probably, any questions that they’re looking for.
Charlie: 13:14 Right. Pretty much everything. Pretty much.
Matt: 13:17 Wow. So, I mean, that’s beautiful because there are a lot of some third parties out there that love to talk about how they’re so anti-dealership nowadays. They don’t want people going in wasting their time or anything like that. So the fact that you can actually get the car delivered to you from here, that’s beautiful, man.
Shirley: 13:36 And you can work with financing and all of that as well?
Charlie: 13:38 Right. We can go over all your options. We can do it online, over the phone. Yeah.
Shirley: 13:42 That’s very [crosstalk].
Matt: 13:43 It doesn’t get any better, you guys. So, again, toyotaofglendora.com. That’s where you can get all the information that you’re looking for. Find out what vehicles they have on the lot, find out questions about the vehicle so that way, you know if this is exactly the one you’re looking for. And again, you’re speaking to a real person. So it’s not just some artificial intelligence out there that you’re chatting with, it’s actually a real person. No pressure to buy anything online. But if you need to save some time, obviously, you heard it from head honcho himself, man. You can do that entire process online and actually get the vehicle delivered to you. That’s so convenient. Again, this store is really one of the favorites of– I’m loving it.
Shirley: 14:26 So convenient.
Matt: 14:27 Yeah. Was there anything that you want to say, maybe, to the community of Glendora?
Charlie: 14:33 Well, I just want to let the community know that Toyota of Glendora is here. We’re part of the community. Like I said earlier, we’re a family store. We’re a family-run business. And when you walk into our dealership, you’ll feel like a part of the family.
Matt: 14:46 And I’ll vouch for that. Shirley, you got anything else?
Shirley: 14:50 Nope. I love the environment here. The service department, everybody’s kind of great and very welcoming. So I’m excited for sure.
Matt: 14:58 Definitely. Sir, so obviously, I know you have a lot on your plate so we’ll go ahead and stop here. But that’s not all that we’re going to drop. Obviously, this is the man himself, the general manager. So we do appreciate your time. Like I said, I’m anxious to do some test drives, if you’re okay with that, Miss Shirley, I might just go ahead and have some fun. And then we’ll also be getting to know some of the other employees around this store. So everybody here has a story, and the reason why this store is so unique is because of all the employees here. So we are definitely going to be giving you guys that aspect.
Shirley: 15:33 But also, I’d love to find out why you’ve gotten into the car business. I’d love to get to know you as well, so.
Charlie: 15:39 Sure. Sure. Absolutely.
Matt: 15:41 Perfect. So we’ll be hearing from you again.
Charlie: 15:44 Okay. Thank you very much.
Matt: 15:44 All right.
Shirley: 15:45 [crosstalk].
Matt: 15:46 I appreciate it. Thanks a lot.
Charlie: 15:47 All right. Thanks. Thank you.
Shirley: 15:49 Thank you.
Charlie: 15:49 All right.
By |2019-06-07T18:35:33+00:00February 19th, 2019|podcast|

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