Kia AutoSport of Columbus owner Monroe Lee ran out of T-shirts, hot dogs and hamburgers last weekend.
And he hopes to repeat it again this weekend.
The local store teamed with Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc. to host a Big Tent Event on the West Point site of the new auto assembly plant.
The event runs Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the east end of Kia Parkway, about 40 miles north of Columbus.The lack of food and shirts translated into about 25 car sales this week, Lee said.
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“It was a good boost for us,” said Lee, who owns four Kia dealerships in Georgia and Florida.
The event is not a sale, but what is being billed as a “ride and drive.” It is open to the general public and the nearly 1,000 workers at the Kia plant, which is gearing up for a November production launch.
Those interested in purchasing Kia automobiles came to the Columbus store to do so.
Randy Jackson, director of Human Resources and Administration for Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, said one of the main reasons for the event was to give Kia workers an opportunity to buy vehicles at employee pricing.
“We would like for them to drive our brand,” Jackson said. “Right now, you see a lot more than Kia name plates in the parking lot.”But Jackson said there is no pressure on employees to buy a Kia.
“At the same time, I have no clue what people’s personal finances are,” Jackson said. “We want them to buy a car, and hopefully, at some point they can buy one of ours.”
For Lee, the event is translating into sales.
In a normal month, he will sell between 60 and 70 cars. Good sales Friday and Saturday could put the two-weekend total to close to that number.
“What we want to do is get everybody familiar with the cars,” Lee said. “We’ll have them all out there.”
The event offers people a chance to drive the cars and get a feel for them, Jackson said.
“If you didn’t get a chance to come see us last weekend or if you’d like a second look at our outstanding line-up, we hope that you will come see us this weekend,” Jackson said.
Lee said he was bringing more food and T-shirts.
“Last week, we gave away 2,500 T-shirts,” he said. “We’ll have 3,000 with us this time.”