Speck building electric-friendly new home for Buick, GMC dealership

Katy and J.P. Moore are building a new home for their newly acquired Tri-Cities Buick and GMC dealership, which has outgrown its Kennewick quarters.

“We’re bursting at the seams,” said Katie Forney, operations manager for Speck Dealerships, the family of car and truck dealers owned by the Moores.

Speck GMC and Buick of Tri-Cities will move to a seven-acre site on Sandifur Parkway between McCurley Integrity Subaru and Camping World of Pasco, an RV dealership. Site work has begun, and the business should move by fall, Forney said.

LCR Construction is the contractor for the $5 million project. Richland architect Bruce Baker designed it to meet the requirements of the vehicle brands it represents.

“It’s going to be really cool,” she said.

The new home will have 18 service bays equipped to serve the next generation of zero emission vehicles coming from General Motors. It is a timely move for the GM-focused business, which the Moores bought in January 2019. Buick and GMC are General Motors brands.

On Jan. 28, the manufacturer announced plans to be carbon neutral by 2040, with the “aspiration” of eliminating tailpipe emissions from its new light-duty vehicles by 2035. That includes passenger vehicles and full-size trucks and SUVs.

Electric vehicles account for a sliver of U.S. auto sales, but the wave of new offerings translates to a wave of vehicles that will have to be serviced. Speck aims to be ready.

“With the future of GM and the technology that is coming to us, it’s time to have a facility that’s capable of electric vehicles and the new technology,” she said.

The glass and steel building will serve hybrid and electric vehicles owners and can host electric vehicle charging stations.

The facility will cater to mobile workers with workspaces and offer charging docks visitors can use while they wait for vehicles to be serviced. Speck will add shuttle service for pick up and drop off as well.

Forney said the Kennewick location, on West Clearwater Avenue near Highway 395, worked well, but was too constrained for the services Speck wanted to add. The company intends to redevelop the site but isn’t ready to disclose its plans.

The 3-acre site is not for sale, she confirmed.

The move comes amid strong retail vehicle sales, according to the National Association of Auto Dealers. After a slowdown in the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic, sales returned to growth mode by September, according to NADA’s chief economist.

Washington’s 309 new car dealerships employed 45,000 people in 2019 according to the most recent data from NADA. The typical dealership averages 74 employees. Car and truck sales totaled $17.8 billion, generating $1.2 billion in sales tax revenue to Washington.

Speck Motors employs 180 at its five dealerships – C. Speck Motors Chevy, Buick, Nissan in Sunnyside, Speck Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram in Sunnyside, Speck Chevrolet Buick in Prosser, Speck Hyundai of Tri-Cities in Pasco and the Buick GMC business that is moving to Pasco.

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