The automall gets a bad rap sometimes; it can be easy to compare it to other massive retail locations out there and just naturally assume it will be filled with businesses that don’t care about their customers and are only out to make a buck. While that could be the case sometimes, a good automall does one simple thing: provide customers with a massive selection of vehicles all in one convenient location. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, it all comes down to how the businesses in the automall run and treat their customers.
Some automalls are a collection of dealerships, just like a standard shopping mall, while others are more like mega-dealers that are a single business with a mind-blowing and massive inventory. In both cases, however, they are only as good as the way they work with their customers and the kinds of deals they can provide. So what are the “best” automalls when looking at them in this light?
They are the ones with a huge selection of vehicles for you to choose from (otherwise what’s the point?) and highly-rated customer service over the years. These are businesses that have been around for a while and aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. A lot of this is subjective, but if you’re near one of these automalls, then they are well worth a look.
#1 – Longo Toyota – El Monte, CA
One of the most massive automalls in the country, Longo Toyota is more than just a mega-dealer; it is arguably THE mega-dealer. Started in 1967 as a relatively small dealership, they made a name for themselves quickly by being #1 in sales for Toyota in terms of volume in the US their first year. They were so successful that by 1972 they had to move to a new location, a larger, five-acre setup that was staffed by more than 100 employees.
Since then, Longo Toyota has continued to set the mark for Toyota sales in the US and blows away so many other dealerships it’s unbelievable. In 1988 they moved to an even larger 21-acre location in El Monte and have simply continued to grow since then. But just how good are their sales numbers?
In 2001 they set the world record for Toyota sales in a month by selling 2,017 new vehicles in June of that year. Never happy to rest on their laurels, they then broke their own record by selling 2,510 vehicles in June of 2002. Of course, they went on to break that record again by selling 2,710 new vehicles in July of 2006 – that year they sold more than 25,000 new vehicles overall.
At this point, Longo Toyota is now on a location that is more than 50 acres in size and redefines what I think of when I think “automall.” There is a Starbucks Café on-site, along with a Subway restaurant, a branch of the AAA, and two Enterprise car rental locations. They even have an on-site fitness center and a full-time wellness coach for their staff, to ensure all of their employees are healthy and happy to be a part of their team. Truly remarkable…
#2 – Tempe Autoplex – Tempe, AZ
The Tempe Autoplex in Arizona is more of a standard automall with 12 different dealerships all in one location together. While Longo Toyota might break records and blow minds with everything they have to offer – at the end of the day, they are a Toyota dealership. They might be unlike anything else around, but if you want a wide selection of new vehicles from different manufacturers, then you’re out of luck.
At Tempe Autoplex, however, you find more of a broad selection due to the different dealerships representing different manufacturers. Just about every kind of dealer you could want can all be found in one location, which is the essential idea behind an automall. From Acura, Cadillac, Buick, and GMC, to Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Honda, there is bound to be a vehicle for everyone somewhere at Tempe Autoplex.
Sure they might not have restaurants or multiple car rental locations, but they make up for what they lack in culinary options with what they provide in terms of selection. There are a lot of different dealerships in the Phoenix-area to choose from, but Tempe Autoplex can be a great place to start.
#3 – Kings Automall – Cincinnati, OH
Much like Tempe Autoplex, Kings Automall in Cincinnati, Ohio provides a similarly diverse selection of vehicles to choose from. This massive location is in keeping with the shopping mall concept: lots of different dealers and vehicles all in one place to make your life easier. From Kings Ford to McCluskey Chevrolet, there are a lot of fantastic dealerships to choose from, and all that competition ensures they will aggressively work for your business.
One of the other great things about Kings Automall is that it is conveniently located right near the highway. This makes it easy to find whether you live in Cincinnati, in the nearby area, or a bit further away. No matter where you are coming from, it is easy to find and convenient, plus you can hop back on the freeway with your new vehicle to see how it handles on the open road.
There is a huge selection of vehicles available at Kings Automall, including a Porsche dealer. You don’t usually see high-end or import vehicle dealers at automalls, so that makes this one pretty special. Since choosing a single dealership or a massive automall is all about considering your needs and finding what is best for you, having more options is always in your favor.
#4 – Valley Automall – Henderson, NV
If you live in Nevada, then Valley Automall in Henderson is a great choice for just about all of your car-shopping needs. Much like the last couple I mentioned, this is a traditional automall with numerous dealerships all in one convenient location. Just like with Tempe Autoplex or Kings Automall, this gives you a lot of freedom and flexibility in choosing a new vehicle. While a mega-dealer like Longo Toyota might have used vehicles from different manufacturers, when you are looking at new models specifically, then this kind of automall can offer greater freedom.
While some automalls out there can seem uncaring due to their size and the inventory they have on-hand, Valley Automall has a history of reaching out to the community and being a part of Henderson. From a Christmas tree decorating contest each year that provides funding to schools in the area, to charity work with organizations like the American Red Cross, Valley Automall and its employees do a lot to give back. That’s not something you see all the time with such a large organization, so it’s worth noting when you find it.
#5 – Garber Automall – Green Cove Springs, FL
Despite its name, Garber Automall is more like Longo Toyota than somewhere like Kings Automall in that it is essentially a massive dealership, but unlike Longo it offers a lot of different manufacturers. This is not necessarily a bad thing, simply worthy of noting when looking at these different dealers and what they have to offer. The great thing about a location like Garber Automall is you always know what to expect.
When you go to an automall that consists of a dozen different dealerships, then going from one to another can be shockingly different experiences. With a mega-dealer like Garber, however, you know that no matter what kind of vehicle you look at, you are still dealing with the same dealership. That consistency can make shopping for a new or used vehicle a lot easier and is something to keep in mind when considering your options.