Henderson company prepares for opening of Audi Reno Tahoe

When John Coats, sales and used car manager for Audi Henderson, was asked to attend a coffee meeting by his boss earlier this year, his first thought was, "Man, what did I do?"

"I went there thinking I was in trouble," Coats says.

Instead, Coats was asked to move to Reno to open and run Audi Reno Tahoe, which is scheduled to open in early January at 9190 S. Virginia St. Coats, 40, will be the general manager of the Audi Reno Tahoe, part of Findlay Auto Group of Henderson.

Findlay Auto Group purchased the building in South Reno out of foreclosure. It formerly housed the Audi and Mitsubishi dealerships formerly owned by Allison Automotive Group. Although it's the first northern Nevada dealership for Findlay, the dealership has 25 locations throughout southern Nevada, Arizona, Idaho and Utah.

There's still plenty of work to do at Audi Reno Tahoe to prepare for its reopening. Workers have repainted the interior, added T-5 lighting in the service area, re-keyed the entire building, and cleaned a year's worth of weed growth from the 5-acre parcel. Lifts still need to be installed in service bays, the service department needs to be stocked with Audi parts, and of course cars still need to be delivered to the lot.

Coats expects to employ a staff of 23, including six sales positions. He's already chosen his office, finance and service managers, but there are still 18 key positions to fill, he says. He's currently interviewing service technicians, including experienced Audi mechanics.

Coats, who started with Findlay Auto Group in 2002 as Internet sales manager, says multiple groups from Reno and out of the region were vying to represent the Audi franchise, which has been absent from Reno for about a year. Findlay's success with its newer Audi dealership in Henderson was one of the main reasons Findlay was awarded the dealership, Coats says.

"In the few years that it has been open it has had a lot of success and won a lot of awards for volume, customer service and turn rates. For as little time as we were open we came quite a ways."

Coats hopes his ties to northern Nevada help spur sales of the German-made cars. Coats grew up in Sparks and graduated from Reed High School in 1990, but he left the region in 1991.

"I couldn't believe it the chance to move home and be general manager of an Audi store obviously I jumped at that chance," he says. "I am happy to be here and happy to be back in this community. I have a lot of friends and connections in this area, and hopefully the word spreads among them and travels fast.

"With the relationships I have, hopefully they send in referrals and that increases business. It has been fun being part of something like this from the ground up, and I look forward to meeting the people of Reno after being gone for so long."


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