The Auto Center Bargain Lot, a Village Automotive Group company, continues to "give back" to the community with contributions to local and national charities, volunteer efforts with our employees and through our Foundation. Click here for more information.

Girl Scout Event

Lexus of Wayzata and Village Chevrolet, partnered with Dunwoody and Advent Talent Group to host an event for the Girl Scouts on July 13 in Wayzata. This educational event gave the Girl Scouts’ exposure to various aspects that helped them earn their Car Care Badge.

The girls started their day out at Dunwoody Institute learning from the automotive Instructors how to do basic inspections; check fluids, change a tire and oil. Each girl was given an opportunity to actually work on the cars and learn what is involved in doing hands-on work along with its importance. Dunwoody also gave the girls an opportunity to see the automotive school and where they could gain additional schooling if they wanted a career in automotive repair.

For the afternoon, the Girls Scouts had presentations at Lexus of Wayzata to learn about how driving affects insurance coverage, which models are the safest and provide energy efficiency, how to prepare for roadside emergencies and careers in the auto industry.

Chris Knight, former Fridley police officer for 17 years and Village Chevrolet employee, described driving hazards and road rage situations he has encountered in his police career. He answered questions and provided several tips when encountering police by explaining to them that “tickets are more for education rather than punishment and the police are here to keep the community safe”. Chris' advice to the girls was, "Whatever choices you make behind the wheel, you have to live with those.”

Chris Doyle, Lexus of Wayzata Service Advisor and Assistant Maple Plain Fire Chief shared his experience with the Girl Scouts regarding various accident scenes he has been involved. He advised “driving isn't to be taken lightly and you need to be cautious and patient on the road.” He said this is very important because he has seen many crashes in his career and most of them could have been prevented if people were just more careful.

Todd Randall, Lexus of Wayzata Service Manager, and Joe Sybrant, Village Chevrolet Fixed Operations Manager talked about safety features in Chevrolet and Lexus models that make them some of the safest on the road. Todd explained safety and technical features in newer vehicles that make driving more enjoyable. He explained due to the technology in most vehicles today it does require training about the vehicle at the time a customer takes delivery of their car. Joe reviewed the safety features in Chevrolet models and recommended “if maintained properly, then it just comes down to the person who is driving.” Both Todd and Joe explained they have seen a lot of changes in vehicles over the years and models today offer many more options that impacts driver safety in accidents.

Kyle Harris, HR Director discussed how driving violations can affect insurance premiums and gave some examples such as speeding, expired drivers' license, credit reports, and being ticketed for not wearing a seatbelt. She also explained the dangers of distracted driving, best practices for driving near school buses and how to not create intersection gridlock which can result in a moving violation. Further she explained “most of the vehicle damage we see at our dealerships is due to distracted driving. We hear from our customers who have been involved in some accidents that they had minimal injury or had their lives saved due to the safety features in the cars”.

Steve Geil, Diagnostics Specialist at Lexus of Wayzata, explained what should be included in an emergency kit, what to be aware of such as low tire pressure and how to change a flat tire. He stressed the importance of knowing your car and inspecting it each time you drive it.

Next, Steve Geil and Aaron Johnson, Village Chevrolet Product Specialist, demonstrated energy efficient cars- the Lexus RX Hybrid , Chevrolet Cruz and the Chevrolet Volt. The girls inspected the cars and explored different features while Steve and Aaron answered questions.

To round out the day, presentations were given by women working in the auto industry.

First, Amanda Zellen, Detailer at Lexus of Wayzata and Girl Scout Troop leader, explained the different aspects her job entails. She answered various questions about her role in the detail department and how she got into the auto industry. When Amanda was asked what she liked most about her job, she stated, "I find it very rewarding. It's really nice to see the before and after of your work. It feels very rewarding."

Jan Engel, New Car Salesperson at Lexus of Wayzata, who has been with the store since it opened, talked about her career and how she got into the industry. Her advice "Don't be afraid to take a risk. I feel really good about selling something that's safe and reliable." Jan was very inspiring and assured that “risks can be very rewarding” and gave an example of how she made a drastic career change when she started out with Lexus 28 years ago!

Owner of Advent Talent Group, Mary Younggren, explained her role as owner of a staffing agency and how it aligns with the Auto Industry. She explained how it is a great way as a temp to find out if a job is the right fit and gave tips on what employers are looking for such as a structured resume, coming prepared to an interview with questions and thoughtful answers, being on time for the interview, and presenting oneself in a professional manner.

The girls learned a lot of valuable information and were able to earn their Care Car Badge at the end of the event! Thank you to the sponsors: Dunwoody, Advent Talent Group, Village Automotive Group.

Toys For Tots

During each holiday season, Auto Center Bargain Lot gives back! We are a Toys for Tots drop location and encourage our customers to bring in unwrapped gifts for children in need. We have collected toys for the program since 2005.

Helping The Homeless

The Wellness Committee at Village Automotive Group invited Allan Law, also known as, The Sandwich Man, to speak to the employees of Village Automotive Group. Like most who hear his selfless mission of consistently bringing food and showing compassion to over 1,500 people in Minneapolis every day, Auto Center Bargain Lot was inspired. To help support Allan's efforts, we will be collecting coins for bus tokens and new socks to donate for the homeless.

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Hennepin County: Wellness By Design Award

Village Automotive Group has been presented the Platinum and Green award from Wellness by Design on June 25th. This award recognizes our Wellness program and environmental efforts as an employer in the community out of 200 Hennepin County employers.

Wellness by Design was set up to reward Hennepin County employers for programs that promote healthy behaviors and environments in their work places along with working to reduce chronic diseases and associated healthcare costs. This year, Wellness by Design added the Green award which takes into consideration factors that include work place recycling, water conservation and energy saving practices.

Village Automotive Group launched its wellness program, "Drive to a Healthier You" in 2010 which has experienced significant results such as single digit premium renewals; improved lifestyle changes such as reduced blood pressures; weight loss and increases in smoking cessation. This program has also created a heightened awareness for at least 3 employees whose lives would have been significantly impacted with life-threatening conditions had this program not existed. This is the second Platinum award for Village Automotive Group.