Monday May 24 2010
Folsom Chevrolet partners with Granite Bay High to teach business skills
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
Summer Ali circled the charcoal-colored Chevy Traverse and examined the car's exterior. “The Traverse is great for family,” said saleswoman Brittany Lineberger. “Get in and see if it’s comfortable for you.” Ali slid into the driver’s seat and about one minute later made her decision. “I love it,” she said. And just like that Lineberger made what might be the quickest sale in automobile history. Of course, this sales representative is a student at Granite Bay High School and same with her client. The teenagers were part of a simulated on-campus car dealership put on Thursday by the school’s Business Concepts class in partnership with Folsom Chevrolet. Teacher Jeanne Sampson said students gain hands-on business experience and skills by participating in the industry-education program, now in its 13th year. The program introduces students to General Motors’ dealership operations and automotive careers. The 34 students in the class hear from guest speakers and have the opportunity to job shadow at Folsom Chevrolet. “They did a great job preparing,” Sampson said. “The best thing about this kind of activity — it’s not a text book or lecture. They come out here and it’s amazing the initiative and leadership they (show).” Folsom Chevrolet, headed by President Marshal Crossan, provided the class with a $1,200 budget to create the on-campus dealership, complete with a selection of brand new vehicles “for sale.” Each student in the General Motors Learning Applied-Business Program worked in a different department within the dealership: business, finance and insurance, sales, parts and service. Other students acted as customers and first stopped by the business office to get a fake identity with a new name, job, income and credit score. Ali, for instance, became Kanye West, complete with the rapper’s multi-million dollar budget for a new car. Next, a sales representative helped the customer pick a car. Then it was on to the finance department where the customer selected accessories for the car. The employee added the tax and license, subtracted the down payment, figured out the financing rate and calculated the monthly payment. Jakob Loterbauer — who went by the pseudonym Jacob Black and worked as an orthopedic surgeon — bought a red Camaro for about $45,000. “I went for the whole package,” Loterbauer said. Department Manager Jacquie Jordan got his monthly payment down to $300 a month. Loterbauer then visited the service department to learn about oil changes, rotating tires and keeping his car in good condition. His visit to the dealership ended with a stop at the parts department. Student Rachel Schmidt, manager of the business department, said the project gave her practice working as a salesperson. “It’s good experience,” Schmidt said. “I’m planning to go to college for a business degree.” As customers selected their favorite cars, student general managers Reid Dobson and Adam Godbey surveyed the scene and made sure everything went smoothly. The guys were appointed by class vote to act as general managers. They spent the previous three weeks making arrangements with Folsom Chevrolet. “It’s been pretty fun,” Godbey said. “It’s base knowledge for us to be successful in any job.” Sena Christian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.