Taking the new car business to the next level is what guides Tim Feeny's work.
Although he has been in the industry for almost all of his 29 years, Feeny is looking at his new position as general manager at Feeny Chrysler Jeep Dodge in Elgin as an opportunity to take the dealership beyond traditional parameters. Having grown up in a family devoted to selling vehicles, he now wants to make the car-buying experience enjoyable even before customers set foot in the store.
Tim Feeny, general manager1010 Chicago Ave. Elgin, IL 60120
Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday.
Hours: 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday; 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday.
What types of positions have you held within the Feeny organization?
"I've done every single job in the store, beginning from the time I was in high school. I started out as a porter, worked in repair, in the used car department. I washed vehicles, worked on service orders and sold cars. I was used car manager, worked on the new car desk and then sales manager before becoming general manager."
How has your work here already changed this dealership?
"I really believe you have to have a social media presence. Your online presence is just as important as what happens when people walk into your store because most car purchases begin with a search online. It's a big part of the sales transaction. It needs to be easy, but it also has to be personal.
"We have focused on our reviews online and these have greatly improved in the last 18 months. Feeny CJD has a 4.7 rating out of 5 on Google and that's a pretty good presence."
What will be different about Feeny Chrysler Jeep Dodge under your guidance?
"This is essentially a new store. Since I assumed this position in July, I have made a lot of positive changes in the dealership. I have brought in seven new people in positions across the board, from porters to service technicians. I want to make connections with ECC and St. Edward's Catholic School and give these kids opportunities. Other than the new people I have hired, most of our employees have been here 10 years or more. I'm really looking to employ more young people who understand what we're all about, but who also want to take the car-buying experience beyond what we have had."
What is attractive about working in the new car business?
"It's something I have always wanted to do since I was a little kid. I did work for a short time in investment banking after graduating from Indiana University's Kelley School of Business, but that made me realize I like this business much better."
What is your business philosophy?
"It's the same as what my father, Daniel, who is my best friend, always said. It's not just the Feeny family here, but 46 other families working together.
"A long time ago when we owned Arlington Park Dodge, our motto was: 'Where we treat you like family.' We still maintain that today. To borrow a computer term, we want to be user-friendly and have our customers for life.
"My dad's style is what has kept us here. You believe in the company and in what you are doing. You see that people's needs are met, whether it's in service and parts or sales. It's the small details, the little thank yous that don't always happen, but that matter."
How many stores are in the Feeny group?
"This is our legacy store. We have been here 30 years. I call this the battleground area. We sell a lot of cars here in Bartlett, Streamwood, Hanover Park. On any given month, the ratio is 50/50; sometimes it's more new cars, sometimes it's more used cars.
"Between my dad's stores and those run by his brother and nephews, we have seven (dealerships): one here, one in Indiana and the rest in Michigan. We have six CJD dealerships and one Ford."
What do you like about Chrysler Jeep Dodge products?
"I'm so lucky to represent Jeep because it's such a great brand. Jeep had the first SUV to come out. The brand is just so unique from left to right. Of course, Chrysler had the first minivan, which my father drives. Here's a guy who can drive anything -- he wants and he chooses a minivan.
"The cars that Chrysler has now are unbelievable. My personal favorite is the Chrysler 300 sedan. If you want to have a family vehicle, the 300 has a wonderful design."
What do you like about working in the vehicle business?
"I like meeting people, shaking hands, seeing the rewards that happen when you find the car that someone wants. A lot of people come in here with boxing gloves on and expect a fight, and it definitely doesn't have to be like that. We're not like that. You have to love what you do. You impact families, often selling cars to them and to their children when they come of age."
How does Feeny Chrysler Jeep Dodge give back to the community?
"Through our 30 years here we have supported the Boys and Girls Clubs of Elgin with various requests. My dad has a men's hockey team, the Feeny Flyers, that plays out of Johnny's Ice House in the city. We have a Ride and Test Drive Program where for every test drive we have, we donate money that is matched by Chrysler, to St. John's School to help send a group of students to Washington, D.C., every spring.
"We try to do things that have an impact, rather than awarding someone with a T-shirt at the end of the year. I would really like to figure out a program to get kids to go outdoors. I don't know how to do that yet. That's the challenge. I've been interested in the outdoors since I went to India as part of the National Outdoors Leadership School when I was in college."
What do you like to do in your spare time?
"I have a Honda custom motorcycle. I just got into that two years ago. It's a great way to start and end the day. I like to ride it to work when I can. I also love to drive the country and have taken long road trips from here to Seattle and down through the desert Southwest and to the East Coast."