ST. GEORGE – A new auto dealership and service center has positioned itself in St. George, filling a need for high-end vehicles that has not previously been met in St. George. While it can be cliché that it is the people that make the business, it is nonetheless true. Specialties Automotive Group brings with it some special people committed to becoming a part of the fabric of St. George, in business and community.
Meet Niko. Actually Niko Zotos, but in the world of Specialties Automotive, Niko is Niko, the secret agent of the company’s service department. He is a fully-charged battery of old school mechanics and cutting edge know-how, a marriage of abilities that brings owners of high-end cars an alternative to service departments and mechanics that often simply default to the convenient remedy of “order and replace” without considering other options, or worse – take “shots in the dark” on engines that are more sophisticated than the everyday automotive machine.
The Southern Utah need for high-end car service was one of Jared Thompson’s motivations for planting his second location in St. George, some 300 miles from his home base in Bountiful.
“When a car owner will drive two hours to Las Vegas or four hours to Salt Lake one way, just to get their vehicle serviced, it motivates us to go above and beyond to make certain their needs are met locally.”
Niko was mentored by his father-in-law a short time after emigrating here from Greece. He had pursued an education in computer science and marketing at Loyola University New Orleans when he found an affinity for working on cars, with a practical expertise taught to him one-on-one by his mentor.
As Niko’s years of experience equipped him with the expected solutions on high-end cars, he said that he often found the industry protocols limited, even wasteful – “replace, replace, replace,” he said. As his intimate familiarity with high-end import cars grew, Niko discovered he could often apply his old school skills and repair all sorts of problems on cars short of an immediate replacement of parts or systems. Sometimes repairs will provide the owner a respite until they are in a position to make the more expensive replacement, other times repairs will solve a problem entirely.
“We have used several mechanics and we’ve dealt with lots,” General Manager Chase Duncan said. “Niko is the only one that will try first to repair something instead of simply throwing it away. Mechanics just aren’t trained like that anymore. They’re trained to attach the computer, read the error code, and just replace the part.”
“I’m from the old country where you don’t just toss something when it breaks,” Niko said. “Everyone likes a brand new part but sometimes a brand new part just isn’t in the cards or the budget.”
As an example, Duncan related a recent problem a Range Rover had that was brought into the shop. “On a Range Rover, inside the climate system, are those little lights that illuminate the temperature display,” he said, “and they go out, so the TSB says to replace the whole climate control system – a $1,700 part – Niko pulls it out, does open heart surgery, solders a couple things and said I’ll catch you next time.”
Servicing your vehicle at a service center doesn’t have to be an uncomfortable, wearisome or distressing financial experience – not even if you drive a high-end luxury car. Whether servicing domestic, foreign, hybrid or high-end vehicles, Specialties Automotive gives the owner options.
“We offer free diagnostics and second opinions,” Niko said. “We will leave it up to you whether you want to fix it here or not, with no hard feelings.”
With no charge for having the problem evaluated, the car owner has nothing to lose and no obligation to proceed with the service, repairs or replacements that might be recommended. Yet, in part because Specialties Automotive is not a franchise dealership with any given car maker, it can price service competitively lower than the competition.
“We are usually at least a third cheaper on repairs on our high-end cars compared to other dealers,” Thompson said. “We work hard to meet our customers’ needs and expectations at a price they can afford.”
Customer satisfaction and service excellence have always been Specialties Automotive’s key priorities and they remain so as the business expands to St. George.
Located on a site that has seen its share of publicity, positive and negative, depending on one’s take – from hands-on car contests to a Federal Trade Commission shutdown of the business previously located there – Thompson finds it an overall, positive challenge. It’s a great location, he said, and acknowledged the relationships prior business owners from the site have had with customers and community members.
Nonetheless, Thompson and Specialties Automotive Group are entirely different from any previous tenants, owners or businesses associated with the location.
More importantly, Specialties Automotive sales and service offerings are equally distinct, bringing a fresh approach to both automotive sales and service. Their loyal customers appreciate their straightforward approach. Thompson said in turn he wants customers to expect a lot as he and his crew push themselves to recognize those needs and deliver even more.
It’s not just about high-end cars for Specialties Automotive, although that is a niche that has not been successfully filled in the St. George area before. Niko and his staff welcome cars of all makes and models for service and repair, bearing the standard that Thompson has maintained, which is to be a family’s first stop shop, every time, for cars and car needs of any size.
After 10 years in the business, Specialties Automotive Group has built its reputation on honesty and integrity by providing outstanding customer service, and they have an A+ Better Business Bureau rating to back it up. Specialties Automotive continues to impress the car dealership arena in Utah. You can always expect top-notch vehicles on display when you stop by for a look.
“We look forward to doing business with you,” Thompson said, “and have every intention of earning your business this time, next time, and every time you need a quality car or superior service work . We are the affordable alternative to the new car dealer.”
A D V E R T O R I A L
- Address: 543 N. Bluff Street, St. George, Utah 84770 | Telephone: (435) 216-5578
- Hours: Tues – Sat 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
- Address: 468 W. Pages Lane, Bountiful, Utah 84010 | Telephone: 801-292-3766
- Hours: Tues – Sat 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.