Vista Honda closes its doors
Special to the Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Amy Barr’s 2009 Honda CRV sent her a “check engine” alert, and she knew that it was time for an oil change.
She headed to Vista Honda in West Glenwood Springs, where she’d purchased the vehicle two years ago. When she pulled in, she noticed all the Honda signs were gone and the car lot was fairly empty, with not a single Honda vehicle anywhere.
That’s when she got the bad news. Vista Honda had closed.
Barr was disappointed.
“Vista Honda has been great for me. It was just kind of a shock,” the Carbondale resident said.
Officials from the Vista Auto Group in Glenwood Springs and the dealership’s headquarters in Silverthorne declined to comment on the closing. The dealership is owned by six holding companies that are all registered to Brian Pope of Vail, according to a records search of the Colorado Secretary of State’s business database.
Chris Martin, spokesman for American Honda Co. Inc., of Torrence, Calif., confirmed that the dealership closed about a month ago.
Martin said due to confidentiality agreements between American Honda Co. Inc. and Vista Automotive Group, he could not comment on details of the closure.
Barr and others who purchased Honda vehicles from Vista received letters explaining where other Honda dealerships were located for sales, and if they had service or maintenance needs.
The closest Honda dealership to Glenwood Springs is Fuoco Honda at 748 N. First in Grand Junction.
Fuoco service manager Dave Lundy said the Grand Junction dealership has already seen a few customers from Glenwood Springs. Fuoco has sent out coupons and is in the process of sending maintenance reminder letters to Honda owners.
Barr said she’s already received one from Fuoco for her Honda CRV.
Martin said American Honda prefers Honda dealerships to be stand-alone facilities and not be in a joint operation with another auto maker.
Vista Honda shared a facility at 130 Center Drive with Vista Subaru, but Martin, again citing the confidentiality agreement, wouldn’t comment on whether that was a reason for the closure.
Lundy said Fuoco Honda in Grand Junction is a singular dealership.
Martin said it was way too early to determine if Glenwood Springs would be in line for another Honda dealership in the future.
“They are one of the more sought-after dealerships in the country. They are very successful,” Martin said, adding that the decision for dealership locations can come from local business people or from the Honda corporation.
“We’re always seeking places to find that would be appropriate locations to have a dealership,” he said.
For Barr and other Honda owners in the Roaring Fork Valley, several local automotive service centers specialize in Honda vehicles. Barr said she plans to stay local for servicing her Honda CRV.
Vista Auto Group still operates two dealerships in West Glenwood: Vista Subaru at 130 Center Drive and Vista Chevrolet, just around the corner at 175 Storm King Road.
In Silverthorne, Vista operates a Jeep, Chrysler, Dodge and Subaru dealership.
Vista Auto Group has made several changes to its Glenwood Springs operations in the recent past.
In spring 2009, Vista Auto Group moved from two South Glenwood locations on South Glen Avenue to its two locations in West Glenwood. The two former dealerships in South Glenwood remain empty.
Also in spring 2009, Vista closed its Nissan dealership in Glenwood.
Vista took over the Storm King Road location for its Chevrolet dealership after a Dodge dealership in that location shut its doors in November 2008.
Due to slumping car sales and a sluggish economy, Vista pulled the plug on plans to build a large dealership site in West Glenwood where two hotels – the 1st Choice inn and Budget Host – were demolished to make way for the facility.
According to local real estate broker Bill Bullock, who is the listing agent for the properties, the two parcels are currently under contract by a single party.
The two parcels of land, nearly 6 acres in all, were put up for sale in December 2008 for a combined $12.3 million, according to a previous Post Independent report. The parcels were purchased for a combined $6.2 million in July 2007 by Vista. That price did not include the demolition cost.
Bullock said he couldn’t comment at this time on price or party details of the sale. He did say everything is looking good for the sale to go through.
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