By Shari Valenta
Want to get rid of that old Geo Metro and settle into a more reliable Honda Civic? Or maybe a Porsche is more your style. One way to go is Millennium Autosport. They’re a retail dealership that sells all makes, shapes and sizes of automobiles for almost the same price other dealerships purchase cars.
Their business consists of about 50 percent retail and 50 percent wholesale. The Internet-based company can find anything from a high-end $75,000 Porsche that retails for $96,000 to a car that’s made its way around the block several times for $1,500.
“We offer vehicles to the general public for $300 to $500 less than other car dealerships,” said Randy Ankeney, general manager. “We make up for the smaller margins by doing a greater volume of business. Audis, Mercedes, BMWs and Hummers are our bread and butter, but we’ll find anything: Hondas, Toyotas, Lexus, Acuras—you name it!”
All the cars are pre-owned.
“We can get you a new car at invoice, but you’re not going to save as much money,” Ankeney said. “We believe that buying a new car is not a good idea because the day you drive it from the lot, you’re going to loose about $3,000 on depreciation. The best thing to do is buy a used car from 2005.”
Millennium Autosport has been open four years and is rapidly growing.
“We went from about two million in gross sales to 43 million,” said owner Joe Oltmann, a pilot who chose the location near Centennial Airport so he could watch the planes.
The friendly company has grown mostly due to word of mouth and repeat customers.
“We spend less on advertising than any dealership in the nation. Instead, we put cars in the newspaper or on the Internet,” explained Ankeney. “It keeps our overhead low; some dealerships spend as much as $60,000 a month on advertising. A large part of our business is based on referrals. On average, every customer that buys a car usually brings in three to four new customers through word of mouth.”
Ankeney says the business model of large dealerships is based on making as much money on a one-time deal as they can with no regard to ever seeing the customer again. Millennium Autosport’s motto is to earn a customer’s business for life. It prides itself on being a low-pressure sales company. Ankeney himself started out as a customer. He met Oltmann while buying a car from him.
“The biggest reason why I’m in the car business is that I like to effect change,” said Oltmann. “I think the car business has some major flaws in it. If I can change the way one customer is treated in the car industry, I think I can get more referrals in return. My business grows from that concept. We’ll respect people that come in here and what they want. I’m not going to try to sell them anything; they’re welcome to search through what I have, if they’d like to. If I don’t have what they want, I’ll definitely hunt down the vehicle of their choice.”
Joe Oltmann started doing business selling wholesale cars out of his garage. He bought the cars from auto auctions or dealerships and then sold them to other dealers. He was also constantly finding friends and family vehicles, so eventually he had to get his retail license.
“He started with Emmick, which is now Elway; he started out as a salesperson and just worked his way up,” said Ankeney. “He also worked for Ferguson for a while. He has a lot of talent, drive and energy. He’s the guy they would bring in to fix dealerships. He really knows his stuff, people, and the business model. He also knows cars like crazy. And he knows the market, so he knows a good time to buy or sell at the car auctions, and when it’s a good time to stock up on sports cars and when to get rid of sports utility vehicles.”
If you don’t want to buy the car as is, Millennium Autosport offers options.
“Because we deal in large volumes, we have strategic partnerships of over 700 vendors statewide who offer huge discounts of about 40 to 60 percent on, for example, window tint, clear bras, tires and windshields,” said Ankeney.
Now that the car has all the accessories, how can you be sure the car will perform?
“Most of the cars we sell are pretty low in mileage and are still under factory warranty so there’s not a lot to worry about for the consumer,” said Ankeney.
Millennium Autosport offers extended warranties up to 125,000 miles bumper to bumper through a couple of warranty companies. Warranties vary depending on the make and model of the car and when the warranty coverage started.
“Because there have been a lot of fly-by-night warranty companies in the past, we’re pretty careful about checking to see if they’re a legitimate company,” said Ankeney. “We check to see if they’re insured, have sufficient assets to pay their bills and that they do pay their bills. Our aftermarket warranties are great because they’ll allow an ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certified mechanic to work on the car, not just the franchised dealership. Usually the big dealers will sell warranties that only allow them to work on your car.”
The dealership spends a lot of time researching the cars to make sure they’re safe and haven’t experienced any significant damage.
“We certify all our cars with CARFAX (vehicle history report),” Ankeney reassures. “We are CARFAX certified and make sure there hasn’t been any odometer roll back or anything of that nature. The report has information such as the truth in mileage, the total loss accidents, whether it’s a lemon and the manufacturer buy back. CARFAX certified cars come with a buy-back guarantee so that if any of these criteria are incorrect on the CARFAX report, CARFAX will buy the car back.”
Whether it’s finding out information about a previously owned vehicle or looking for the whereabouts of his own cars, Oltmann knows how to do research. He did his own detective work in helping Arapahoe County police officers solve a case of stolen vehicles that made local news. A customer purchased one of his Mercedes Benz vehicles with false credit. That car and dozens of others stolen from the metro area were sold to a chop shop for spare parts. He found out the information by basically scaring the fraudulent customer into sharing the names of others involved.
“They arrested 17 people with 163 indictments so it was a big deal,” Oltmann said. “The police aren’t even done with the case. We had a woman with a fake driver’s license and credit card. We ran her credit and it was great. The credit union called us two hours later and said, ‘Did you know this could be a possible fraud case?’
“I don’t have insurance to cover stuff involved in trickery or by device so it would have been a $25,000 hit out of my pocket. Since we only make $300 to $500 a car, we would have to sell more than 50 cars to make it up. When I found out it really was fraud, I spent the next three days hunting them down with Randy. I found the chop shop and the ring leaders.”
Ankeney explained how he found them.
“Basically Joe called everybody he knew in the Denver car market and received a couple of leads,” he said. “Also, the false information on the credit application had some truth to it; there were real streets so we basically knew that it was within a small area of Aurora. We drove around looking for the car. We finally found her and when we showed up at her door step, her mouth dropped open; so did mine. I just couldn’t believe we found her!”
For a trustworthy deal on a pre-owned vehicle, visit Millennium Autosport. Make sure you have good credit; otherwise you never know, Ankeney and Oltmann might show up at your doorstep!
The company is located three miles west of Centennial Airport. From Arapahoe Road and Lima Street, go south on Lima to Inverness Drive East. The office is located in the American Humane Association building.
Millennium Autosport is located at 63 Inverness Drive East #200. For more information, call (720) 200-4004 or visit [http://www.millenniumautosport.us].