BEDFORD — Ira Lexus of Manchester is settling into its new location on Kilton Road, making it the only Lexus dealer in New Hampshire and Vermont.
The luxury auto dealer moved from space it shared with Ira Toyota Lexus on Auto Center Road in Manchester to a building nearly triple in size.
But while the dealership’s new building is much larger, it is a smaller version of the expansion originally proposed in 2010.
In April 2011, the planning board approved reducing the size of the building from 61,900 to 34,000 square feet.
At that time, Marvin Marcel, who represented owner Group One Automotive Inc., told the board that auto sales dropped by 40 percent for the sales period 2008-2009, and were still down nationally by 20 percent.
Given the industry’s economic turmoil, Marcel said factories relaxed some of the requirements placed on dealerships, including the amount of on-site vehicle storage, which allowed the company to build a smaller, more thoughtful dealership.
According to Ira Lexus General Manager Ed Stockel, despite a still-sluggish economy, sales are good, with the dealership selling 47 cars in June.
“The trajectory of the economy isn’t where it should be yet,” he said, adding that customers seem to be getting used to what he calls the new economic norm.
Lexus topped all other luxury auto brands in terms of growth, selling 10,247 units in June, a 99 percent increase over June 2011, according to MotorAuthority.com. One of the top sellers for Lexus was the ES 350 sedan.
“It’s always been one of the core vehicles we retail,” said Stockel, who would not provide a breakdown of June sales by vehicle.
The new Bedford facility is well-appointed and boasts features that customers have come to expect from the luxury car dealer, Stockel said: “It’s a very high-end, luxurious facility. Our target customers are people who appreciate the finer things.”
Customers can take delivery of their vehicles from inside the building, a plus for rainy days and messy winter weather, Stockel said.
The facility also features an eight-car showroom and 15 large service bays, as well as an alignment center.
For those not ready to jump into a brand new Lexus, the dealership offers pre-owned vehicles, the choice for about one-third of Ira Lexus’ customers, Stockel said. B
ecause Lexus owners typically keep their vehicles well-maintained, Ira Lexus can offer certified, quality pre-owned cars, he said.
“That broadens the range of available vehicles, he said. “We can offer consumers a car with anywhere from 2,000 to 50,000 miles.”
Stockel said he and his team of 46 are pleased to be a community partner in Bedford.
“We’re here for the benefit of the community,” Stockel said. “We like to do business in a competitive and service-oriented environment.”
A grand opening will be held in September.