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Subaru is back on Brand

The Japanese automaker holds its grand opening at 1308 S. Brand Blvd.

May 27, 2010|By Veronica Rocha
  • Former Lakers player Michael Cooper, left, signs an autograph for Paul Salcido during the grand opening of the Subaru of Glendale car dealership Wednesday.
Former Lakers player Michael Cooper, left, signs an autograph… (Scott Smeltzer )

GLENDALE — Subaru has reemerged on the Brand Boulevard of Cars after closing its dealership there nearly 20 years ago because of declining sales.

Subaru executives launched a soft opening of the dealership in November, but held a grand opening Wednesday at their new location at 1308 S. Brand Blvd.

"It's a great stimulus for the entire city with jobs and sales tax," Mayor Ara Najarian said. "We are very thankful that they put their investment Glendale."

In the 1990s, the Subaru was known for being inexpensive, but the Japanese yen changed and the company struggled to control the sticker price, said Richard Crosson, the automaker's marketing development vice president.

The company also suffered when new automakers emerged and brought more competition to the industry, he said.

"We struggled a little bit," Crosson said.

As a result of declining sales, some dealerships, including the one in Glendale, closed their doors. The Japanese automaker also wasn't able to find a quality operator, prolonging the absence in Glendale, Crosson added.

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Subaru executives began looking at locations in Glendale about six years ago, hoping to get a spot on Brand Boulevard.

"You really want to be in the right location," said Tony Graziano, the automaker's western regional vice president.

Subaru executives eventually bought Sierra Automotive Sales and Leasing and renovated the building for a new dealership.

"Our customer base is completely loyal to Subaru, so they come to buy this car because they have already done the research," said Sam Ershadi, who owns Subaru of Glendale.

The new dealership could eventually bring 50 jobs to the area, he said.

It could also generate more customers and foot traffic to the Brand Boulevard of Cars, said Philip Lanzafame, the city's development services director.

The auto row is a critical source of income for Glendale's General Fund, which pays for city services.

The Brand Boulevard of Cars has seen plenty of changes in the past year.

Chrysler opted to close its Los Feliz Road lot — one of its two outlets in Glendale — as part of the effort to downsize and emerge from bankruptcy protection.

The Detroit automaker merged its local business with Glendale Dodge, and Star Mazda moved into the Los Feliz lot.

Lincoln and Mercury moved into the Star Ford space on Brand Boulevard.

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