Macomb County brakes for positive effects from auto show

 

The North American International Auto Show is a world-renowned event bringing thousands of industry experts, business people and individuals who plain out just have enthusiasm for automobiles to Detroit every January.

 

And why not? The automobile industry is big business in Detroit. But its impacts are also felt significantly in Macomb County. In fact, the automotive industry is an instrumental component of Macomb County’s economy. Here, the industry is made up of nearly 500 companies, employing more than 44,000 individuals. That is a huge impact locally.

 

According to Russell Maisano, general manager of Sterling Heights Dodge Chrysler Jeep RAM, a dealership that in 2015 marked its 50th anniversary in business here in Macomb County, the impacts of the auto show have become even more immediate in the past couple of years. He said attendees are really responding to what they see at the event.

 

“It has a tremendous impact on business,” he said. “Once people go down there, it makes them really enthused.”

 

RenegadeMaisano said in years past, the dealership would stock about 150-200 cars to accommodate auto show buyers, but this year, they have just over 1,200 on the lot.

 

Most of the models being shown at the auto show can be purchased at local dealerships, but there are a few that aren’t available until late spring. Maisano said there’s a “big pickup in high-end luxury models” in Macomb County, which trends with national statistics. For example, in 2015, the average new car transaction price was $33,188 – up 20 percent since 2005 when the average price of a new car was $27,655. Current low interest rates and stable gas prices also have industry experts predicting sales in 2016 to grow to 18 million.

 

“Last year, we broke all records,” said Maisano about the sales directly made at the dealership both during and after the auto show. “They see the new cars and it gives them a little spark.”

 

Sterling Heights Dodge is located at 40111 Van Dyke Avenue, Sterling Heights.

 

Sarah Cormier is a contributor to the Make Macomb Your Home blog and works in the Macomb County Executive Office.  

Sterling Heights Dodge celebrates 50 years in business

Longtime Chrysler dealer Tony Viviano honored

Stories about being employed by the automotive industry are a dime a dozen around Macomb County. In fact, over 74,000 individuals living here have an automotive-related job. That’s not even counting the numerous families affected by those careers. But, sometimes, there’s a unique story to tell as is the case with Chrysler automotive dealer Tony Viviano. This past Thursday, Viviano celebrated the fact that his dealership, Sterling Heights Dodge, has now been open for 50 years, which certainly deserves recognition.

Viviano started working for Chrysler when he was in college and attended night classes at the Chrysler Institute. Once he decided to pursue opportunities with Chrysler, he borrowed money from his father and brothers and eventually opened Utica Dodge on May 15, 1965. After a few years of successful business, Chrysler approached him to be partners in the new dealership being built just a few miles from his current store. On May 15, 1970, he and Chrysler opened up what is now Sterling Heights Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram. He also acquired a dealership in northern Michigan that sold the Chevrolet, Pontiac and Oldsmobile brands and owned a Dollar Rental Cars location at Metro Airport.

He has been involved in three different franchises over the years including Utica Dodge 1965-1970, Meadowbrook Dodge which was open from 1979 to 2009 and Sterling Heights Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram from 1970 to present.

But Viviano didn’t only focus on his dealership. He is also an avid volunteer. He is past president of both the Detroit Auto Dealers Association (DADA) and the Detroit Dodge Dealers from 1988 to 1989. While he was president of the DADA, the organization started the North American International Auto Show. He is past president of the Michigan Auto Dealers Association Board of Directors. He is the chairman of the Henry Ford Macomb Hospital Healthcare Foundation Board of Directors and a member of the Henry Ford System Foundation. He has served there in many capacities over the years including finance committee, the ethics committee and the organizational effectiveness committee. He also is a founding member of the Ambassador Club and has been a member of the Century Club for a number of years.

Viviano is also highly involved with the southeast Michigan Chapter of the March of Dimes and the Macomb County Sheriff Marine Division, where he is currently the commander of all the sheriff reserve units. He has received numerous other accolades throughout the years including being one of the 10 Medallion Award winners in nine categories honored by Henry Ford Macomb Hospital’s Medallion Ball. Viviano has been such a tremendous volunteer with the Henry Ford Macomb Health System Philanthropy Department that they named an award after him: The Tony Viviano Distinguished Achievement Award, which is presented annually at the Medallion Ball.