Hassett Automotive

Brains of the Operation

by , on
July 22, 2010

Long Island’s top work-truck dealer. A networking event sponsored by a trade organization representing over 1,500 Island landscape design and maintenance

professionals. A college campus packed with environmentally conscious young-adult drivers.

Lou Evans is no dummy.

Lou, the hardworking general sales manager of Hassett Automotive, knows a marketing opportunity when he sees one. That’s why he made sure Hassett was at the Nassau Suffolk Landscape Gardeners Association’s July 14 networking picnic/barbecue at Farmingdale State College. That’s why he had Hassett join the NSLGA in the first place – to learn the needs of a critical customer base from the inside. And that’s why he was sure to bring along a shiny new Ford Fiesta when Hassett visited the FSC campus: Though shalt not pass, Lou figures, without offering.

“The kids thought the car was awesome,” he says of the nimble, 40-mpg Fiesta, the European sensation now redefining the U.S. compact market. “They were really intrigued by the economy and surprised at how roomy a small car can be on the inside. It has all the modern features and it’s so affordable … what better place to showcase this car than at a college?”

Clever as it was to showcase that new Fiesta, Hassett was sure to bring the big guns to the NSLGA networking event. Hassett’s pièce de résistance was a Ford F-550 – a Class 5 Super-Duty conventional truck that shares fender, grill, hood and cab designs with smaller pickup trucks – outfitted with what Lou calls a “landscape body.”

“This is the type of vehicle you most commonly see landscapers using,” the GSM notes. “They carry mulch, they carry topsoil, bushes, shrubs … for whatever they need to carry, this is the body of choice, as opposed to a mason body, for instance, that might be better for carrying bricks or cement.

“A landscape body has higher sides and more capacity,” Lou adds. “It’s larger, not necessarily by weight, but by volume.”

Like the Fiesta with FSC’s summer students, the F-550 was a big hit with the NSLGA members attending the July 14 networking event. That’s not surprising, considering Ford F-series trucks have been America’s No. 1-selling vehicles for three decades.

“You go to event where there are people representing companies that sell tractors and riding motors and other things that might interest professional landscapers and gardeners, and something like [the F-550] fits right in,” Lou notes. “It’s a big attraction. This is the vehicle they’re looking for.”

And between the green-   minded fans of the peppy Ford Fiesta and the green-thumbed admirers of the gritty F-550, Lou hopes the NSLGA road trip will generate some green for Hassett Automotive.

“Of course we do these things to increase sales,” the GSM says. “But they’re also educational. We want to teach those kids about Fiesta’s efficiency and affordability. We want to show the landscapers everything the Ford Super Duties have to offer. And we want to learn ourselves – what are those customers thinking when they see these vehicles, and how can we better serve them?”

Teaching, learning and making a few extra sales along the way.

Yeah … no dummy, that Lou.