New Concept Auto Agency Will Go On

Luxury cars win despite the recession

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Kiki Suárez

In Escondido, a Westfield mall is struggling and a notable upscale restaurant has closed, but that won’t stop a local entrepreneur from opening up an auto dealership, according to a published report in the North County Times.

And not just any car dealership, but a three-story building complete with a concert venue, an upscale restaurant, a simulated golf course, a public art display, a library, a meeting hall, and a flower shop.

When it opens sometime in November, the 326,000-square-foot Lexus dealership just west of Interstate 15 also might be the next generation of luxury car dealerships aiming to be destination places for the community, said owner Judy Jones-Cone.

Jones-Cone, who also owns Lexus Carlsbad and Toyota of Carlsbad, said executives at Lexus, a division of the Toyota Motor Corp., are challenging dealerships to create innovative ways of bringing in customers and integrating showrooms with the community.

"My response to that was to engage the community not only in a business way in serving their transportation needs, but engaging the community in a philanthropic and social way," she said. "I believe very much that making an automotive agency a destination center for many purposes enhances our customers' experience."

The project's price tag so far? About $29 million in construction since Jones-Cone first imagined the idea 7 years ago.

 

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