Dealer Gary Barbera takes a gamble on providing ‘casino-like’ buying experiences

"We want visitors to feel as if they're at a casino, in terms of excitement, since that's how people do business."

While dealers have experienced incredible growth, consumer demand is primarily driving those figures. On today’s edition of Inside Automotive, Gary Barbera, founder of Barbera’s Autoland, discusses his company’s market and operational updates.

As one of Stellantis’ highest-volume stores in the Philadelphia auto market has shifted its focus to customer satisfaction, Google reviews, and pre-owned vehicles. Nonetheless, Barbera believes that due to the car group’s extensive moving components and the ongoing evolution of both the auto market and its consumers, its inventory is currently “working itself through.” He goes on to say that at Barbera, “we want to make visitors feel like they’re at a casino—regarding the excitement level since that’s how people do business.” Taking care of the customers contributes to their hospitality and improves their overall shopping experience.

Used-car inventory

Because of technology and finance, dealers now have more time to work in the industry. “I think we now have the resources to look at a car and examine why it’s 30 days old or why it didn’t sell,” says Barbera. Barbera Autoland currently uses the vAuto live market view to decide whether or not they need a certain car, and, if not, whether or not to wholesale it. “If vAuto says it’s something, we can look at it again, go over, clean it up, or make it as desirable as possible.”

Barbera purchases cars directly off the road, which presents a dilemma for the dealership, given how quickly chains move. Because consumers have been driving upside down for the past two years, those speeds of chains enable Autoland to take each day as it comes. “The improvement of the customer experience does somewhat alleviate these challenges.”

Auto Industry Headwinds

In terms of the auto market and rising interest rates, Barbera is focused only on the thing he and his team can control. “In terms of our business, we can control 90% of it,” he notes. However, with the current media headlines emphasizing consumers paying sticker price, click-baiting Tesla, and the demand is quickly increasing, Barbera advises others, “things are never as bad as you think they are, but they’re never as good as you think they are.”

However, Barbera continues to prioritize family while the majority of industry dealers are enlarging into larger and broader markets. Although the facility was shut down by the government during COVID, the bills still needed to get paid. Because of this, Barbera’s used that time to concentrate primarily on improving Barbera Cares, the customer experience, and training its evolving staff members. Barbera exclaims, “I think you have to grow your team, you have to build your business to where they want to go to work.” 

Barbera CARES

The “Don’t Text and Drive” campaign and the “Keep the Boulevard Safe” message are among the many community service initiatives that Barbera Cares promotes to all people, especially the younger generation in the Philadelphia area.