Peters Auto Center - Readers' Choice Award Winner

The Nashua Telegraph (Progress Edition business supplement), March 17th, 2000

*Third generation family business continues to grow

NASHUA — Next Month Peters Auto Center brings a glimpse of the future to Nashua with the arrival of the 2000 Honda Insight, a stylish, futuristic coupe whose ultra-low emission engine–a gasoline and electric hybrid–achieves a remarkable seventy miles per gallon. In an era of skyrocketing fuel costs and increased air pollution, the Insight leads the way to a cleaner, more fuel-efficient tomorrow.

With the introduction of the Insight, one of Nashua’s oldest family-owned dealerships remains at the forefront of automotive technology. Since Peters Auto Center began selling new cars with the introduction of the Nissan lineup (then known as Datsun) in 1963, some of the most popular and cutting-edge import models in America have been sold from the Peters lot.

Today Peters Auto Center operates Nissan, Honda, Isuzu, and Kia franchises at its 280 Amherst Street location, just west of the Everett Turnpike. An eighth of a mile away lies Peters’ state-of-the-art collision repair shop, the Bump Clinic.

The Honda franchise has recently been awarded the 1999 President’s Sales Award by Honda of North America for the third consecutive year. This prestigious award recognizes Peters Honda for excellence in customer satisfaction. But the awards that please co-owner Peter Proko the most come from closer to home.

Peters Auto Center received two 1999 Readers’ Choice awards from readers of The Telegraph, one for Favorite New Car Dealer and one for Favorite Used Car Dealer. “We really take pride in the Readers’ Choice Awards,” said Proko. “That shows us that the people right here in the area who do business with us appreciate us.”

The Honda Insight is just one of many models on the Peters lot which have stirred up excitement recently. Two Honda models, the Accord and the Civic, remain among the best selling cars in America. The Honda stable also includes the redesigned Odyssey minivan, the CR-V and Passport sport utilities, the Prelude sport coupe, and the electrifying new S2000 roadster.

The Nissan showroom boasts two all-new models, including a more powerful Sentra compact sedan and coupe and the hot-selling Xterra sport utility vehicle. These models sit beside the Frontier pickup (available as a crew cab), the Pathfinder sport utility, the midsize Altima sedan, and the impressive Maxima sedan, which offers real value in the near-luxury sedan market.

Isuzu specializes in trucks and sport utilities, from the Hombre pickup to the Amigo, Rodeo, and Trooper sport utility vehicles. For those who can’t decide between a truck and a sports car, Isuzu makes the outrageous, high-performance VehiCROSS sport-utility. All Isuzu vehicles come with a ten-year, 120,000 mile powertrain warranty, one of the best in the industry.

Kia, the newest member of the Peters automotive family, is a Korean marque that has enjoyed tremendous growth since entering the U.S. market in 1994. Its line-up features a rugged, very affordable sport utility vehicle called the Sportage and a stylish, value-priced sedan called the Sephia.

Peter B. Proko and his father, Peter G. Proko, co-founded Peters Auto Center in 1955. Today Peter B. Proko and his daughter, Peggy Proko-Weisman, have carried the family tradition on to a third generation. Peters Auto Center’s leadership in the industry still thrives after forty-five years, as its Honda, Nissan, and Isuzu dealerships currently lead the northeastern states in sales.

The array of makes and models may contribute to Peters Auto Center’s success, but in an industry as customer-service oriented as auto sales it takes more than a large inventory to win awards and lead the sales charts. Proko believes he knows the formula that sets Peters apart.

“Our biggest 'secret’ is our employees,” said Proko. “We’re low-key. We don’t pressure the customer. We try to give the customers what they need to make a decision.”

Ms. Proko-Weisman added, “One of the things we tell our employees is to put themselves in the customer’s shoes–and that’s how we want to treat them. It’s easy to make the customer happy, so why not do it? This is true in all our departments–sales, service, parts, and used car sales.”

Customers notice the effort. More than 70% of car buyers at Peters are either repeat customers or people who have been referred to Peters by past customers–a remarkable percentage that speaks volumes about the satisfaction of customers both during and after the sale.

The Nissan and Isuzu dealership’s building received an extensive make-over in 1997. Nowhere has the remodeling made a bigger difference than in the service area. Service advisors and customers now sit down together at desks. An alcove with a computer hookup and a fax machine enables customers to get work done with they wait for their cars. The waiting room features a large television, vending machines, free doughnuts, and an enclosed children’s play area with toys.

Construction begins soon on a new, $3 million facility to house the Honda sales and service departments. The new building will feature the same state-of-the-art technology and customer amenities as the Nissan and Isuzu building. The pre-owned car department will then move into the current Honda building, giving it a space of its own and more room to serve its customers. This will also free up a showroom to be dedicated to Kia sales, which currently shares space with pre-owned vehicle sales.

The pre-owned car center subjects vehicles to a twenty-five point service check before accepting them onto its lot; all other vehicles are wholesaled. Since 70% of the pre-owned cars on the lot belonged to drivers who bought and serviced them at Peters, many of them come with the reassurance of a solid, documented service history.

The Bump Clinic on Diesel Road (just off Amherst Street) serves as a full collision repair shop for Peters Auto Center, but it welcomes all makes and models of vehicles. In fact, the Bump Clinic’s high-quality repair work and state-of-the-art equipment make it the body shop of choice for customers throughout the region. For instance, its two repainting spray booths are environmentally controlled to keep impurities out of new paint jobs, producing a factory-quality finish.

Call Peters Auto Center for sales information or to arrange for service at (603) 889-1166, or fax (603) 886-9349. Call the Bump Clinic at (603) 886-9315 to arrange auto body repairs. Or visit on the World Wide Web for more information about new and used vehicle sales, service, and auto body collision repair.