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Old 10-15-2009, 05:28 AM   #1
mumblypeg
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Default AutoStar Superstore?

OK, hopefully this is not an inappropriate thread.....but has anyone been approached by, or made contact with AutoStar about converting their operations?.

We actually got a brochure from them back in August, while we were in the middle of our own "transition" to Used Car operations. While we had already reorganized our personnel, and swapped out Reynolds for Arkona, there were still plenty of things left to do.

The AutoStar operation sounded somewhat interesting, so I filled out the qualifying application and sent it in. I heard nothing from them until just yesterday, when I got a call from Ken Zangara stating that he would like more information, and that our area was still open.

Now, I'm sure that most of you have at least heard of this company, and of some of the management and board members. I had heard of most of them, but I wanted to see if I could find out more about Ken Zanagra (ex auto dealer with some pretty good self proclaimed accolades).

Now, I'm a reasonable and opened minded guy. And I know that the internet can allow people to be somewhat openly harsh with their new found freedoms. But a Google search of Ken Zangara left me thinking "WOW". The more I read, the more disappointing he became.

I'm just not sure how a start up company such as AutoStar would want such a guy heading up the program. I'm not here to judge, tho. Just thought I'd ask if anyone else is in the process of talking to, or applying, and what their feelings might be.
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Old 10-15-2009, 06:00 AM   #2
lsx only
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just a typical fly by night company
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Old 10-15-2009, 10:57 AM   #3
XDCX
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There's a thread on the forum about Zangara Dodge and how his dealership "moved forward" to NEWCO even though it was closed, had no floorplan and was being investigated by the New Mexico Attorney General.

In my opinion, Zangara was tight with the factory and knew how to work those relationships to his benefit. My guess is the same is true with AutoStar?

That said, many of the people who are associated with AutoStar have some impressive credentials. I've know Art Laws for years and have a tremendous amount of respect for him and how he ran his dealership.

It will be interesting to see how AutoStar does.
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Old 10-15-2009, 03:00 PM   #4
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We also got a call from Mr. Zangara about this new company, a few months ago. He kept saying how Chyrsler put him out of business, and all I could think of is all I have read about him regarding the DMV fraud. I asked him if he could send some info, he never did. I called him back for the info and how this whold process works. He told me, we would send in our last few years financials and from there they would determine if we could qualify for the franchise. If we made it through the first qualification, then we would have to send him $25,000 and they would do a complete background examination. If they found out you lied/misrepresented on your financials they keep your $25,000 and that is it. I told him I would pass, that whole business sounds pretty edgy....
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Old 10-16-2009, 05:21 AM   #5
mumblypeg
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Yeah...personally, I had never heard of the man. But his credentials on the website led me to Google name (he's a freakin' Madoff mini-me).
I would have been interested in having some floor plan backing with a respectable company, but having Ken as one one their front men shot that all to hell. If they were wise (or sneakier), they would have kept him in the background. The others seem to check out OK.
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Old 10-16-2009, 10:47 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mumblypeg View Post
Yeah...personally, I had never heard of the man. But his credentials on the website led me to Google name (he's a freakin' Madoff mini-me).
I would have been interested in having some floor plan backing with a respectable company, but having Ken as one one their front men shot that all to hell. If they were wise (or sneakier), they would have kept him in the background. The others seem to check out OK.
I agree that in the age of Google it seems strange that AutoStar would put Zangara in the spotlight. As you suggested, if they wanted his knowledge and experience they could have kept him in the background.

In some ways this reminds me of the beginning of Autobytel.com. That company was started by Pete Ellis shortly after he was forced to close his Chrysler dealership in Los Angeles. I know dealers who signed-up for Autobytel just because they knew Pete and wanted to help him out.

As before, it will be interesting to see how AutoStar does. There are other companies that have tried to franchise the used car business, but AutoStar appears to be the first that has an emphasis on fixed operations.
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Old 11-09-2009, 09:45 AM   #7
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Default Zangara's back in the news....

Quote:
Originally Posted by XDCX View Post
I agree that in the age of Google it seems strange that AutoStar would put Zangara in the spotlight. As you suggested, if they wanted his knowledge and experience they could have kept him in the background.
Here's a link to another post on the forum with the latest news event concerning Zangara - click here
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Old 01-13-2010, 12:03 PM   #8
larry 1
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Can anyone tell me about Auto Star superstore? I have been aproached about opening a location and have some concerns after reading this and the history on Zangara Dodge
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Old 01-13-2010, 01:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larry 1 View Post
Can anyone tell me about Auto Star superstore? I have been aproached about opening a location and have some concerns after reading this and the history on Zangara Dodge
larry 1 - Welcome to DealershipForum

I don't think any of the members here have an AutoStar Franchise so I don't think you'll get a perspective from a first hand basis.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I know Art Laws and his son Alex and have a ton of respect for both of them. They ran Timberline Dodge which featured a very strong Service and Parts operation before they were terminated as part of Chrysler's bankruptcy.

If you Google Timberline Dodge in Portland, OR I'm sure you'll get a phone number for the dealership. To the best of my knowledge they're still an AutoStar Superstore dealer.

Thanks for joining the forum and good luck with your research.
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Old 01-22-2010, 07:19 AM   #10
balc
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Default Do not buy into autostar

We were the first-IT IS A SCAM
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Old 01-22-2010, 07:52 AM   #11
oldjeep
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Default Payless

For those that are interested I have found and working on a Payless used car and rental franchise. I can share info if anyone interested and provide a direct contact to get to the facts. I have been researching and thinking about this for about 6 months just waiting to pull the trigger on it.
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Old 01-22-2010, 10:25 AM   #12
XDCX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by balc View Post
We were the first-IT IS A SCAM
First post - Welcome to DealershipForum

Care to provide any more details about your experience with AutoStar?

I checked AutoStar's website and noticed they haven't had any press releases since October of last year. Their last press release was targeting Saturn dealers that may want to convert to an AutoStar franchise.
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Old 01-26-2010, 09:52 AM   #13
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Default Timberline no longer has AutoStar listed on their website?

I read an article about Art Laws in Automotive News today and noticed he didn't mention AutoStar. I checked out his website and noticed that AutoStar is no longer listed. I wonder why he dropped it?

Based on the posts in this thread it appears dealers should approach AutoStar with a high degree of caution.
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Old 01-21-2011, 01:36 PM   #14
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Was approached through email about this franchise again today, so thought it might be a good idea to give this thread a little shake.
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Old 01-25-2011, 10:30 AM   #15
XDCX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Needhelp View Post
Was approached through email about this franchise again today, so thought it might be a good idea to give this thread a little shake.
Thanks for the update. This thread continues to get a lot of hits even though the last post before yours was almost a year old.

Concerning the presentation you received from Autostar, was it a personalized presentation or more of a bulk-mail solicitation?

Concerning Autostar, I read about their joint marketing agreement with Meineke and Macco in Automotive News last year but it appears they still only have four active stores with six stores "Coming soon." Their Facebook page doesn't show much activity either - the most recent entry was a negative comment made on November 20th that remains unaddressed.
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