Walser and Wichita

The perfect place to be

Written by Julie Underwood Burton

The Walser legacy began in 1954 at a small dealership in South St. Paul, Minnesota, where Jack Walser and two investors purchased Peter’s Oldsmobile.

Growing up in the automotive industry, Paul Walser, alongside his brother Andrew, naturally stepped in to take over the franchise upon their father Jack’s retirement in 1997. Named the Walser Automotive Group and based in Edina, Minnesota, Paul became the CEO and the company quickly grew with consolidations and acquisitions of multiple dealerships throughout the state. But in order to grow and because automobile manufacturers limit the representation in any given market, Walser had to make a fundamental decision about growing the company outside of Minnesota.

Believing the auto industry is one where growth is critical for survival, Walser and his team of brokers began to search for the perfect opportunity for expansion. In 2016, Walser made the greatest expansion at one time in the company history by purchasing the Wichita Luxury Collection.

Why Wichita? “We knew we wanted to continue our journey somewhere in the Midwest,” shared Walser. “We love the Midwest way of thinking, the integrity of the people and the culture.“ Also extremely appealing to Walser was the opportunity to suddenly get involved with luxury brands. Consisting of nine brands including Acura, Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, MINI and Porsche, the group has been rebranded as the Walser Auto Campus.

Walser is not conventional in its sales approach. Adopted in 2001, all dealerships evolved from a typical dealership pricing model, to a “one-person, one price” transparency model, which eliminates back-and-forth negotiations in the sales process. According to Walser, “The set price approach allows the sales staff to focus on what the customer wants and not what they want to sell for their own financial gain.”

Walser believes that communities the size of Wichita with people who have lived here for many years are more respectful of their ‘Walser Way’ approach. He states, “We do best in an environment where people have integrity and stability and they respect our straightforward, transparent approach.”

When you walk into any of Wichita’s Walser retail locations, you will see “5%” on the walls, on name tags and on their signs, because 5 percent of pre-tax earnings is contributed to the Walser Foundation. Their motto is “Our cars drive change” and the foundation awards grants and sponsorships for education and career training in the communities where dealerships are located. To learn more, go to WalserFoundation.org.

Locally, the Walser Foundation has sponsored galas and fundraisers for over a dozen non-profit organizations and has supported USD 259. Their “Driving a Stronger Community” scholarship program recognizes high school seniors who give back to their communities through volunteer service and civic engagement. The $1,000 scholarship is specifically to be used for post-secondary education and has been awarded to deserving recipients at Wichita Southeast High School and Andover High School.

Today, Paul serves as chairman of the Walser Automotive Group. The company is now led by CEO Andrew Walser, after Paul’s retirement in 2017. Following 67 years in operation, the family business has grown to offer 22 distinct franchises across 25 rooftops in Minnesota, Kansas and Illinois. With his philosophy rooted in providing their customers a positive transparent sales experience, he also firmly believes in the importance of landing in a community with stability and integrity.

We are thankful Walser landed right here with us in Wichita.

Paul Walser recently took the helm as 2021 Chairman of the National Automotive Dealership Association (NADA). To hear his vision, go here.

Walser Auto Campus
1545 N. Greenwich Road
316.221.7057
www.walserautocampus.com

 
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