Coppus continues family tradition

PHOTO SUBMITTED A picture from the 1960s shows Coppus Motors employees posing with Studebaker cars in Tiffin. The dealership sold the brand from 1964 until the company stopped production in 1966.

Established in 1927 by Harry Coppus Sr. in Fostoria, Coppus Motors and was based on honesty and integrity. Now, John Coppus continues to focus on that business.

John, CEO and owner of Coppus Motors, started full-time in 1980 and later took over operations in the late 80s. He said after 90 years, there is no “great secret,” just hard work, great employees, a business built on the word of the customer, honesty and integrity.

“It is very important to take care of the needs of the customer,” he said. “We want to make sure all their needs are met by doing what is asked of us.”

Harry’s initial business practices have led to a successful, three-generation family business.

During the first few years, Coppus Motors sold Pontiac, Plymouth, Oakland and Hupmobile automobiles. During the Great Depression in 1933, the dealership was moved to Tiffin, selling Studebaker, Hudson, International trucks and Schultz House Trailers.

In 1964, the dealership was selling Studebaker — which was sold until they stopped production in 1966 — Dodge, American Motors, Jaguar, Triumph, MG and Mercedes-Benz. Jeep and Chrysler later became part of the line-up.

“Being in a small area, we wanted people to not have to go to the bigger cities to have to purchase a vehicle,” John said.

During John’s career, the business continued to expand and made several improvements to the current location. In 2012, John wanted to further invest in the business and, in-turn, the community, by remodeling and making additions to the facilities. Included was the doubling of size of the Mercedes-Benz showroom, remodeling the Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep showroom and renovating the administration office, parts department, service reception area and service bays.

He said the dealership has also installed new equipment in their departments and a new auto wash.

In 2016, Coppus Motors sold more than 900 new and pre-owned vehicles and has more than 40 full-time and part-time employees.

The dealership has earned many awards. In 2014, Coppus Motors earned a 50-year Dodge Dealer Award and were the recipient of a prestigious Mercedes-Benz Best of the Best award in 2008 and again in 2016.

This year, John said the dealership also was honored as one of the oldest dealerships in the U.S. to sell Mercedes-Benz. In addition, Coppus Motors was honored at the Mercedes-Benz Convention June 7 in Miami, Florida. John received the trophy for being one of six remaining dealers who were awarded the Mercedes-Benz franchise in 1957, reaching its 60th year of selling Mercedes-Benz. Before the Mercedes-Benz Corp. was established, buyers could only go through a distributor to purchase vehicles.

Also this year, Coppus Motors earned a 2017 Top Rated Dealership rating from CarGurus, with a 4.8 star rating. The 4.8 rating is given to dealerships who have exceptional customer service and helps establish trust with future buyers.

John himself said he enjoys taking the time to talk to the customers.

Over the years, they have had the added challenges of ever-evolving technology and staying up to date with these changes. But what has never changed, John said, is how Coppus Motor employees interact with customers.

“We want to make the process of buying a vehicle a positive and enjoyable experience,” he said. “We want to give them a reason to come back.”