Carrie Rengers

Walser changing how Luxury Collection does business

Walser Automotive Group, one of the largest automotive groups in Minnesota, has purchased the Wichita Luxury Collection, a car dealership owned by several prominent Wichita car dealers.
Walser Automotive Group, one of the largest automotive groups in Minnesota, has purchased the Wichita Luxury Collection, a car dealership owned by several prominent Wichita car dealers. Eagle file photo

Minnesota-based Walser Automotive Group is in the process of overhauling how Wichita’s Luxury Collection does business.

Paul Walser says there is an “unbelievable amount of things to do here” because Walser, which recently bought the Luxury Collection’s dealerships, sells cars differently than the Luxury Collection does.

“We’re not particularly excited about marching down a different path,” Walser says. “We want to get this thing operating with the way we’re comfortable with.”

Walser says that, unlike a lot of dealerships, his company doesn’t negotiate on the price of cars.

“We eliminated the haggling.”

Also, unlike more traditional dealerships, Walser says, buyers will deal with the same salespeople for their entire transactions instead of seeing additional people for financing or after-market add-ons.

“We don’t operate that way.”

Salespeople are salaried instead of being strictly on commission, though there are incentives, Walser says.

“Our systems are a real departure from the norm,” he says.

“The car-buying experience is easier. It’s fair. In Minneapolis, it takes half an hour to buy a car from us. It’s going to be a different kind of a way for customers to do business.”

He says that’s why former platform manager Bobby Cuillo is now a consultant to the business instead of keeping that role that he had under previous owners. Walser says he has a team from Minneapolis that is instituting the company’s way of selling.

“We’re better to do that with the people who are experienced to do that.”

Walser says Cuillo’s strengths are in his relationships with manufacturers and building new buildings.

“We think that’s a good use of his time right now.”

Another change at the Luxury Collection will be the introduction of cars at a variety of price points, particularly with used vehicles.

“We really want to open up the doors to everybody.”

The Luxury Collection has a number of high-end dealerships, including Acura, Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Mini, Porsche and Mercedes-Benz brands.

In addition to changing how the Luxury Collection does business, Walser says the company has to get to know Wichita and Wichitans.

“This is not the city where we’re from, so we’ve got to connect with people down there.”

It shouldn’t be hard if how the company’s first couple of weeks have gone are any indication. Walser says everyone has been incredible friendly and welcoming.

He says there’s an expression in his state called “Minnesota nice” for how nice people are there.

Walser says one of his employees told him Wichita may trump his home state.

“OK, we’re Minnesota nice,” the employee said, “but they’re Wichita nicer.”

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers

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