East West Lincoln
Authentic to its core
Business View interviews Vincent Trasatti Jr., President of East West Lincoln, for our focus on Top Automotive Dealerships in the U.S.
East West Lincoln was founded back in 1969 by two partners that had originally purchased a dealership specializing in the now-defunct Mercury division of the Ford Motor Company. The dealership was eventually moved to its current location in 1972 and there has been a Lincoln-Mercury dealership in Maryland ever since. That thriving dealership is now known as East West Lincoln.
Located about three miles from Washington D.C., East West Lincoln remains a family-involved business. The dealership is a core part of the local community and has established business relationships with various clients over many years based on honesty, trust, and authenticity.
“We really value the relationships that we have formed with our clients,” Vincent Trasatti Jr., President of East West Lincoln, explains. “We have worked hard to be a reliable pillar of the local community and we truly value that.”
East West Lincoln is a free-standing Lincoln dealership offering CARSTAR collision repair service on-site, as well as a vehicle rental offering. “The Lincoln brand is at the heart of our business,” Trasatti Jr. says. “The CARSTAR collision repair service is an additional solution but one that is still hugely important. It sets us up as a one-stop-shop whenever a vehicle has been involved in an accident.”
One unexpected blow that all dealerships faced recently was the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This has resulted in many car lots displaying far fewer vehicles due to associated supply chain disruption – something that has been noticed at East West Lincoln.
“Our inventory level is very tight, similar to other dealerships and automotive manufacturers,” Trasatti Jr. admits. “We are well aware of current chip shortages and those have certainly resulted in inventory constraints, as well as the removal of certain options and features within our inventory. It must be said, however, that Lincoln Motor Company has done a very good job of managing this disruption. We are all in it together.”
Fortunately, East West Lincoln was not directed to close operations during the height of the crisis, with the dealership classed as an essential transportation service. “Even considering the dangers posed by COVID-19, that doesn’t mean that people don’t need to get their cars fixed or travel to get food and medicines,” Trasatti Jr. explains. “Our way of life in America is, to an extent, centered around mobility – and the vehicle is a huge part of that.”
During the pandemic, East West Lincoln did notice several changes to its operations, of course. Social distancing was enforced, safety precautions were ramped up, and some interactions took place digitally. Obviously, repairs cannot be carried out remotely, so East West Lincoln remained open throughout the pandemic. But business was dramatically impacted.
“We actually got into online sales back in 1996,” Trasatti Jr. continues. “I personally served on some of the advisory boards of the online companies that emerged during that time. They wanted feedback from dealerships because they were looking to build a new online business model. So, we were already well entrenched in online sales when the pandemic hit.”
Ensuring the safety of East West Lincoln’s 42 employees was also paramount during the pandemic. “The company is very hands-on and the employees that show up every day so they can provide for their families are considered part of our family too,” Trasatti Jr. adds. “That’s how we view them. Every business takes on its own personality – shaped by its leadership. From the point of view of East West Lincoln’s leadership, our employees are essential.”
Demonstrating the importance of each and every employee, East West Lincoln offers extensive training throughout all aspects of its business, whether that involves sales, servicing, or parts management. Every worker receives some level of factory training.
“There is a shortage of technicians at the moment, and it is a highly qualified role,” Trasatti Jr. continues. “These vehicles are more complex than ever, which means more training is necessary. Finding employees with the right skills is not easy, therefore, but we do have a tremendous amount of tenure among our technicians. Even so, we are looking to add more technicians as they are such an essential part of our business. We want to make sure that these technicians are rewarded appropriately.”
It goes without saying that the Lincoln brand itself serves as a key partner for East West Lincoln, but there are other collaborators that have furthered the company’s growth. Dealer Built LightYear Technologies provides the software necessary for East West Lincoln to operate. This includes factory integration points for warranty work and many other levels of integration with other vendors. FordDirect has also played a key role in East West Lincoln’s success, providing cutting-edge solutions to many aspects of the business including client relationships software, service reminders, digital marketing solutions, and much more.
“TSD is another important partner,” Trasatti Jr. adds. “The company provides rental management software that is critical to our business. We provide loaner vehicles to clients and this software is interfaced and makes it possible to take care of clients in need of replacement transportation.”
In 2022, Lincoln Motor Company is celebrating 100 years since its founding, with East West Lincoln taking part in various events recognizing the milestone. “Getting ready for the next 100 years is perhaps equally important, if not more so,” Trasatti Jr. says. “Lincoln is looking to launch all-electric luxury vehicles, which goes to show that the company is future-orientated, even as it reflects on its past.”
Serving the Washington D.C. market, East West Lincoln has no shortage of customers that are receptive to electric vehicles. As such, the company is excited that Lincoln is moving in this direction. “I’m sure the electric vehicle market will ebb and flow, with associated infrastructure currently an issue,” Trasatti Jr, accepts. “But as long as the market can manage the transition to electric vehicles carefully, there are many reasons to be excited.”
While Lincoln’s all-electric luxury models may be a while away yet, East West Lincoln is happy to meet customer demands in other areas. With regard to pre-owned vehicles, East West Lincoln sells all manner of models, not just Lincolns, with vehicles sourced from auctions, trade-ins, or even curb-side purchases. The sale of both new and pre-owned vehicles has always formed part of East West Lincoln’s offering. As such, the company will continue to invest in both areas, while also looking forward to new developments in the industry.
“From an OEM perspective, there is a tremendous amount of attention on the Lincoln brand,” Trasatti Jr, comments. “There is a huge deal of talent within the executive team at Lincoln Motor Company and they are working hard to shape and grow the brand. This mixture of talent and determination is the first step toward success. As a dealership that is part of that, we are excited to see how the brand evolves.”
The Ford Motor Company is an iconic U.S. brand, as is Lincoln. “I am personally proud of the fact that we are connected to Lincoln Motor Company,” Trasatti Jr. says. “I am proud that we have grown our business over five decades. I am proud that we have strong employee tenure. And I am proud of the way in which we conduct ourselves as a company. I believe that we carry out our duties well and look forward to continuing to do so for the foreseeable future.”
AT A GLANCE
East West Lincoln
What: A Lincoln dealership offering clients a personalized service for over 50 years
Where: Landover Hills, Maryland