Brentwood, Tenn., is a suburb of Nashville, located due south of Music City, and is known for its rolling hills as well as being one of the wealthiest cities in the U.S. relative to the average cost of living. Population is roughly 41,000.
It’s no secret that Nashville is world-renowned as a hub for music — initially for country music, but currently a hot spot of studio recording for all music genres. Even bands such as Aerosmith, Cheap Trick and ZZ Top record there.
The sounds emanating from CS Automotive (short for Cool Springs Automotive) may not involve the resonance of guitar strings, but are rather the sweet tunes of well-serviced Asian import vehicles and the praises of the shop’s loyal customer base.
While CS Automotive cares for a variety of makes and models, they specialize in Asian imports. Founded in 2006, owners Rob and Kim Auernheimer have established CS Automotive as the “go-to” service shop for makes including Toyota, Lexus, Infiniti, Nissan, Subaru and Honda.
CS Automotive is well-established as a “high end” shop that specializes in imports.
Considering the busy workload of CS Automotive, we considered ourselves fortunate that co-owner Kim was able to find the time to chat with us so we could gain an insight into the shop’s highly successful operations. Following are her comments.
Does your shop offer general automotive repair or do you specialize in specific makes or types of repairs?
We are a full-service automotive repair shop. However, we specialize in Asian import vehicles including Lexus, Toyota, Infiniti, Nissan, Subaru, etc. Rob holds certification as a Lexus Master Diagnostic Technician, Toyota Master Diagnostic Technician and an ASE Certified Master Technician. In addition, Tanner Jenkins, the shop’s lead technician, also holds Toyota Master Diagnostic Technician and ASE Certified Master Technician certifications, and was Ratchet & Wrench’s Technician of the Year in 2016.
What is your business philosophy?
We believe that we are in a relationship business. We have to build relationships, which in turn builds trust and loyal customers. Our shop motto is “Every Time We Do It, We Do It The Best We Can!” We put forth our optimum effort in every case, whether the job involves repairing the vehicles, answering the phone or sweeping the floor. Every employee plays a crucial part of the CS Automotive team. If one team player is not doing their best, we lose. But most importantly, the customer might lose! We focus heavily on superior customer service. It is our responsibility to fully inform and educate our customers in order for them to make the best decision possible for their vehicle. Transparency builds trust and trust builds relationships.
Where do you buy your parts?
WorldPac, and dealerships for OE parts not available through other suppliers, and Ken Smith Wholesale Auto in Chattanooga, Tenn.
We believe that just as we have to develop relationships with our customers, we must do the same with our vendors. Knowing that your parts supplier will “have your back” when things just don’t go right is truly invaluable. WorldPac has one of the best training programs for owners, advisors and technicians in the automotive industry. They offer Owner Groups (Smart Groups) with which we have been involved for the last seven years. The group has been a key factor in the rapid growth and success of our business. In addition, they provide us with a three-year/30,000-mile nationwide warranty that we can pass on to our customers.
What do customers expect from you?
Our customers expect fairness, honesty, integrity, timeliness and quality work. Yes, they expect a lot and they should... and we should honor that! They are asking us to take care of what is most often the second largest purchase they will make in their lifetime. They are asking us to take care of the thing that will get their children to school. They are asking us to take care of the thing that gets them to work. Most importantly, they are asking us to take care of the thing that gets them where they need to go SAFELY!
What influences your parts buying decisions....rank from 0 to 3, with 0 having no influence and 3 having the greatest influence?
- Price .....................................2
- Brand name recognition .......3
- Promotion in racing ..............0
- Perceived quality ..................3
- Availability/time. ...................2
- Other... “Because we offer a three-year/30,000-mile nationwide warranty, it is very important that we are careful when selecting specific parts. We focus more on the right part for the particular job and vehicle we are working on, and try to use OE-specific or OEM parts whenever possible.”
What is your approach to training?
The foundation of the growth of our business has been training. We believe in certification and training reimbursement. In fact, our technicians receive pay incentives for the hours of training they participate in. We believe that it shows the commitment of the technicians to the ever-changing industry.
We made a commitment to regularly seek training and on many aspects of the automotive repair business including financials, customer service, social media and more! Staying current is best for the company, the employees and the customers!
How does ASP benefit your business?
There are so many good articles in Auto Service Professional, including quality and helpful technical information, equipment highlights and more. As a shop owner, the shop profile articles are very informative. It’s always interesting to see the success stories of other shops, which helps other shop owners evaluate their operations. Learning is what makes all of us stand out and thrive! ■
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