Car dealerships tend to exist in clusters, with several large car lots often neighboring one another.
Washington Road in Thomson is no different.
With Freedom Ford and Thomson Chrysler Dodge Jeep side by side and Horton Chevrolet only a mile or so down the road toward downtown Thomson, the area around Interstate 20 is home to good, old-fashioned competition.
Naturally, all three dealerships are similarly confident in their products and service.
After all, they are car salesmen.
Jeffery Frazier (right) of Thomson Chrysler Dodge Jeep
shows Alex Oliphant a minivan.
Photo by Elwood Hamilton
"We have a family-oriented dealership," said Freedom Ford new vehicles sales manager Bill Newsome. "Our service department has been rated very highly by Ford for customer satisfaction. We offer the quality, but can back it up with good service after the sale, and a friendly purchasing environment."
Thomson Chrysler Dodge Jeep general sales manager Mark Grant thinks his dealership benefits from a strong product line.
"The cars are so much better-made based on the quality in the components that go into the making of the cars," he said. "We're a five-star dealership, which is only 25-30 percent of the dealerships in the country, and that's based on your past customer satisfaction and also the employees' satisfaction."
Bud Evans, general manager of Horton Chevrolet, believes the choice between dealers should be about the bottom line.
"We sell vehicles cheap," he said. "We lead the CSRA in volume sales, and we've got all five GM lines. We also follow up after the sale and follow up with good customer service."
Though all three dealerships may disagree on where one should buy their next vehicle, they all agree on what models are hot right now.
"SUVs really," Evans said.
Grant and Newsome agreed that the recent hike in gas prices have had no effect on sport utility vehicle sales, because customers are still anxious to get their hands on the new models.
Newsome believes this is because SUV engines are getting more fuel-efficient.
"The technology that's been going into the engines with Ford for their V-8 engines needed to motivate these SUVs is getting very acceptable gas mileage and getting them power and torque to drive them confidently," he said.
All three dealership representatives stressed that residents of Thomson and McDuffie County should consider buying their next vehicle locally, as opposed to driving to Augusta.
"I think it's nice that Thomson residents have a choice locally without having to drive to Augusta," Newsome said. "We hope that McDuffie County individuals will support the dealerships here locally because of the convenience and local atmosphere."
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