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Building On

Two Madison, Ind., car dealerships expanding at same time

McCubbin Motors, Craig Toyota
are in construction mode

(January 2018) – Madison, Ind., is a small town with a lot of unique, family owned shops. As for the major car dealerships, most have been around for a few decades or more. Chandler Chevrolet expanded in 2012, and now Craig Toyota and McCubbin Motors are both expanding their franchises, with both projects expected to be complete in early 2018. These two dealerships are both family owned dealerships – Kevin McCubbin owns McCubbin Motors, and Joe Craig and his family own Craig Toyota.

Photo by Sam Swartz

Joe Craig (above) and his family picked up the Toyota franchise in Madison, Ind., in 1969.

McCubbin Motors started off as a Ford dealership, which then turned into McCubbin Ford in 1961 by Kevin’s father, Bill. He was originally working for a Ford dealership in Louisville as a manager and bought the dealership here in Madison. Kevin joined his father in late 1974, so McCubbin has been around for 56 years, longer than most family owned dealerships.
Craig Toyota, however, started off a little different. This franchise was originally and still is, Bennett Motors. Bennett Motors has been around since 1947 and Joe’s father, Jim Craig, got involved when Bennett Motors was downtown.
In 1969, they picked up the Toyota franchise, bought the space on Clifty Drive, and built the building that is there today. Around 1998, GM and Toyota had to be separated, so that’s when Craig Toyota bought the building next door, which is now Superior Auto.
In 2008-2009, when there was a recession, GM went bankrupt and had to pull franchises all across the nation. That’s when they pulled from Craig Toyota, and from that moment on, it became a single point Toyota dealership. Craig Toyota is the oldest Toyota dealership in the state of Indiana.
“This is my 28th year here, so between my brothers – Andy, John, and me – it’s been 30-plus years on average between the three of us. Our dad, Jim, came back in the mid ’70s and bought his partner out in 1991, and that’s when we started,” Joe Craig said. 

Photo by Sam Swartz

Kevin McCubbin joined his father, Bill, at McCubbin Ford in Madison in 1974. Kevin now operates the dealership and is expanding with the construction of new facilities.

All the manufacturers want their dealerships to looks alike, meet certain standards and provide the best service they can for the customers. That’s why these dealerships are expanding their franchises. Even though Craig’s facility is renovating to be more in the line of what Toyota franchise wants to look like, McCubbin’s was a project that Kevin started around 10 years ago.
“The facility was older, so we wanted to make it look a little more updated and to follow the brand imaging with the manufacturers, but nothing was required. It was all me. The biggest area that is changing will be our lot display, which is tripling in size. We are tripling the size of our body shop, adding three or four extra service bays and an all new parts department and, of course, a new show room,” McCubbin said.
McCubbin Motors has a variety of Ford, Lincoln, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram vehicles available for sale along with multiple models in their used car department. The dealership has 31 employees and hoping to add and create five to seven new jobs, he said.
Craig Toyota is also making changes within its dealership as well. The biggest areas that will be worked on are all customer related, which is going to make a big difference for customer service, Joe Craig said. Their customer waiting room, which is pretty cramped for space, will be four times bigger than it is now.
“On the west side of the building, instead of the customers coming up and pulling cars up outside, they will actually be able to drive them into the building, outside of the weather. We can write up their service for them and do a walk around on their vehicles and give them a higher level of service,” Craig said.
The Craig dealership has had remodeling done in 1994 and 2001, so the owners are hoping this renovation will last a while. Not only are they adding new rooms, but changing around the whole building. The administrative offices will all be moved over top of the stall that they are building, to write up services.
“Another thing we are doing for the customer is that when we sell a car, whether it be new or used, we will deliver it in its own stall. It is a separate room in the dealership, out of the weather as well. So if it’s raining, snowing or if it’s really hot, we will be able to accommodate that inside a closed building,” Craig said.
The car industry is an ongoing and forever changing environment. Cars are made to last longer. People are putting more miles on their cars before trading them in. All the safety items in cars now help prevent collisions, withstand more intense collisions and have fail-safe systems built in them to have fewer accidents.
“I remember years ago being here when they started talking about electric cars, and that’s finally come around and that’s pretty standard,” Craig said. “The next thing is going to be self-driving cars. Of course, there are hydrogen cars out there now, which are pretty much pollution free as they create water. The self-driving cars are out there now, and within two to three years, it’s going to be pretty standard to be able to purchase one.” 
Technology in the car industry is always improving day by day, which helps the cars safety and efficiency.
“Cyber marketing has also been a huge leap in the industry,” McCubbin said. “The vehicle themselves are someday going to have all electric cars and they drive themselves, so there is a lot of progress in the future that is coming. Technology evolves every year, and gets better every year.”
All in all, both of the car dealerships are looking forward to the changes to come and hope that it will help improve the overall customer service in the end.

“We are here to serve the community better, make purchasing process a little bit easier and to hope for better display areas,” McCubbin said.

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