Lafayette auto dealer Adrian Vega has added Mazda to his Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep franchises on Evangeline Thruway across from the airport. This week Vega received the required final approval from the Louisiana Motor Vehicle Commission to become Lafayette’s new Mazda dealer. He bought the franchise from Don Hargroder’s Courtesy Automotive Group.
“In my and Adrian’s estimation, Mazda has been kind of lost in the mix in this town and needs to be brought to the forefront. It’s such a fine vehicle,” says General Manager Mickey Comboy, who is also part owner of the dealership. Comboy says the brand will be heavily promoted, noting that Mazda’s reputation for affordability and reliability are backed by a three-year, 36,000 mile warranty, with five years or 60,000 miles on the powertrain. Additionally, interest free financing is being offered right now on most Mazdas.
Vega’s takeover of the Mazda dealership brings the franchise full circle for Hunter Trahan, who is now sales manager for the newly named Acadiana Mazda, having previously served as sales manager for Acadiana Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep.
In 1971, the Trahan family of downtown’s Lafayette Motors became one of the first 20 dealers in the country to secure the Mazda franchise. “It was a big hit back then. I was much younger, but from what I was told from my dad, the rotary engine was hot at the time and so were the small pickups,” Hunter says.
Lafayette Motors sold Mazda in April 2008 to Courtesy Automotive Group. “We were at a crossroads. My brother [Brandon] was getting out of the business, and I had to make a decision on what I was going to maintain. I was not going to be in the business alone, running two operations at two different locations,” Hunter recalls. At time of the sale, the Mazda dealership was on Johnston Street, in the current location of Sterling Hyundai.
Lafayette Motors later sold Chrysler and Jeep to Acadiana Dodge in late 2008, and Hunter went to work for Vega’s group. “It’s one thing to be able to sell for a franchise once, but to sell for a franchise twice in the same life. ... We’ve now got Chrysler, Jeep and Mazda at one location,” Hunter says. “For me it’s kind of like déjà vu.”
The board hopes to recover all fees paid, plus one-half, along with what could amount to hundreds of thousands in additional penalties.
Oh, the irony... or something like that.
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