by Gary Axelbank
January 31, 2019
If you can get him in-between phone calls, working closely with his staff, and sharing a smile with customers, you can learn that in the final analysis Teddy Cars General Manager Julio Batista sees his Nissan dealership at 3660 Boston Road as a vehicle for supporting Bronx families and communities. Over his nine-plus years as the borough’s only Nissan dealer – they also operate Teddy Volkswagen – Batista has made sure that his staff of a hundred employees, including maintenance and sales people, finance experts, managers, and porters, all have the same vision and speak with the same voice when it comes to a Teddy customer’s experience.
“We treat people like you’re a guest in our home,” Batista told thisistheBronX during a sitdown interview conducted, appropriately, underneath a huge teddy bear that oversees the busy showroom. “The key is when you walk in here. everyone has a welcoming smile. everyone is happy, and there’s good energy, positive energy.”
One of the reasons for Teddy’s high customer return rate that includes folks who have bought several cars from them, is recognizing who Bronx people are and customizing the sales approach to fit their needs. Batista embraces Bronx diversity and said he respects hard-working Bronx professionals that he meets every day in fields like health care, education, and first responders.
“It’s great to be able to help those people get a car that they need and they’re happy with,” he said, “and you don’t find that in other places. It’s one of the reasons why I enjoy the Bronx so much. I feel that I’m helping people one family at a time.”
Of course financing the purchase of an automobile is a challenge for Bronx families (and any family!) and at Teddy Cars, Batista said, they understand that treating all customers with respect is what helps to make them stand out in the Bronx.
“We treat everyone as if you have A+ credit and the entire deal is structured that way,” he said. “The financing never takes precedence over the sales process and dictates how we treat someone.”
“A lot of people go to other dealerships where no one spends the time to really identify why they can’t buy a car or why the credit is the way that it is. But with the processes that we have in place, we take our time, dissect the situation, and find a way to help so most people who come in will leave driving a car they can afford, which is the most important thing.”
While they do treat all Bronx customers with the same outstretched handshake, Batista did acknowledge that at Teddy Volkswagen, which is about a block away on Boston Road, they have to match-up their approach with VW car-buyers who, interesestingly, seem to know more about cars. “It’s more of a niche market,” he said.
Before the session ended, Batista talked about Teddy Cars’ commitment to supporting Bronx church, community, and school groups and from a very practical point of view, why it’s important to buy Bronx.
“I really want to educate people on why they should buy in their neighborhood,” he said. “If you go outside of your community the tax revenue stays in the community where you purchased the product, not the community where you live. So if you’re in the Bronx and I offer the best service and the competitive price, why wouldn’t you invest your money here so that you get a return on your investment in the form of tax dollars to help your community?”