Integrity Automotive Group in Chattanooga is adding another nameplate to its stable of new and used vehicles with the purchase of the Tim Short Mazda dealership in the city.
Mazda is the first import badge for Integrity, which already sells the Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, and GMC brands in Chattanooga.
"We think it's a good addition to our representation in the marketplace," said Brent Morgan, the group's president.
Morgan said the group has already invested in improvements in the dealership at 6015 International Dr., which is now called Integrity Mazda.
"We've painted it, we're redoing it, updating all the furniture and fixtures to make it more customer-centric," he said. "It will give customers a more pleasurable experience in sales and service."
More changes are planned, he said, noting it has told Mazda it will put up a new store either at the existing site or at another location within two years.
Morgan said that Integrity wants to rapidly grow sales of Mazda vehicles in Chattanooga. While about 25 or so new vehicles were typically on hand, that number will rise to over 100, he said.
"That's how bullish we are on Mazda and how optimistic that we can make a big change in new sales," he said.
The auto dealer said he expects the sales rate for the Japanese car company to soar by 200% to 300% in the Chattanooga market.
"Mazda was under-represented in the marketplace," Morgan said. "There's a lot of opportunity for the Mazda brand."
He wouldn't say how much Integrity paid for the dealership, but added that it's making a "substantial" investment in Mazda.
In addition, a second generation of Morgans will be involved in the dealership, he said. His two sons, Jesse and Bailey Morgan, and a daughter, Abigail Lockhart, will take an active role in operations, Morgan said.
Already, he said, they'd been involved in the group and they hold vice president titles.
"From an operational standpoint, they'll be engaged" in the Mazda dealership day to day, Morgan said.
Kimberly Walker, Southeast regional general manager for Mazda's North America operations, said Integrity has a longstanding commitment and involvement in the Chattanooga area and the automaker looks forward to working with them.
"Mazda is delighted to welcome Integrity Auto Group into the Mazda family," she said.
Walker said that Mazda is marking 100 years in 2020.
"Mazda is grateful for our customers, dealers, suppliers, business partners and the local communities who have supported us over the years, and as we look ahead to the next 100 years, we will continue to put people first and challenge ourselves to create unique products, innovative technologies, and experiences that our customers love," she said.
Morgan said he likes the Mazda lineup of vehicles. He cited the CX-5 sports utility vehicle as well as its CX-30 SUV in addition to the Miata sports car and Mazda sedans.
"Mazda has a lot of great products," he said. "This was a good acquisition for us."
Morgan said he believes that Integrity has a lot of owner loyalty and customer satisfaction, which should help sales. The Mazda store will add jobs and employ from 25 to 30 people, he said.
While Integrity has made changes in its dealerships as all stores have during the coronavirus outbreak, Morgan said that May was a record one for its Chevrolet nameplate and strong for its other brands.
"We exceeded our objectives in all our stores in May," he said.
Despite the challenges the coronavirus has caused in the economy, Morgan said that "if you're doing things the right way ... we're able to work through the worst situations in a positive way."
He also said that the incentives offered to buyers currently are generous.
Tim Short Mazda started operating in Chattanooga in late 2016. Short, who was the owner of a chain of 16 car dealerships in Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia, bought the dealership along with two partners.
They acquired the Chattanooga Mazda franchise from Edd Kirby's Adventure dealership on West M.L. King Drive.
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