High-End Car Dealership Finding Walnut Creek Is A Good Fit

The owner of Bentley and Maserati of Walnut Creek says the dealership has done well since opening in May

Mario Biundo shows his Bentley and Maserati of Walnut Creek car dealership
Mario Biundo shows his Bentley and Maserati of Walnut Creek car dealership
Mario Biundo thinks luxury and Walnut Creek go hand in hand.

That's why he plunked down his Bentley and Maserati of Walnut Creek car dealership on North Broadway.

Biundo opened the Maserati part of the dealership in May and then the Bentley portion in November.

The Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Aston Martins and other luxury cars cost anywhere from $30,000 for pre-owned models to $350,000 for new vehicles.

Despite the high price, Biundo said they've sold more than 100 cars since May. That has made them the number one Maserati dealership out of six in Northern California. They are also the number six dealership nationwide.

"There's a lot of pent-up demand," said Biundo, "but we found our customers have been unwilling to travel a distance to get to our product."

Before last May, East Bay residents who wanted to buy a Bentley or Maserati had to go to San Francisco or Silicon Valley.

Biundo, who moved to the Bay Area from San Diego two years ago, said they researched locations in the East Bay and came up with Walnut Creek.

He said the city has a high enough income level and it has land available for something as large as an auto dealership.

They ended up on the lot at 2033 North Broadway that used to house Dirito Brothers Saab.

It's a temporary home.

The dealership will be making a two-step move over the next year and a half, but it's only a few blocks away.

The Maserati portion will transfer to North Main and Parkside Drive this spring. The Bentley vehicles will follow in 2015.

"This is really exciting for us," said Ashley Spiker, a marketing manager for Luxury Motor Cars Ltd.

Spiker and Biundo said the addition of businesses such as Tiffany and Neiman Marcus had made Walnut Creek a destination for luxury buyers.

"There's a big client base here," said Spiker.

Biundo said most of their customers come from high-income communities such as Alamo, Lafayette, Orinda and Piedmont.

All this activity is good news for Walnut Creek City Hall. City leaders are projecting potential budget deficits during the next eight years.

A high-end car dealership like Bentley Maserati brings in a lot of money.

In 2001, auto sales were 20 percent of the city's $3.1 million in sales tax revenue.

In 2007, it was 25 percent of the $4.5 million that came in.

The revenue dropped off during the recession, but it's rising slowly again.

Ron Gerber, the city's economic development manager, said they'll collect $4 million this fiscal year, thanks in part to the new dealership.

Gerber added the dealership employs more than a dozen people with good-paying jobs and that helps the city's economy, too.

"Jobs and revenue. That's a good combination," said Gerber.

Biundo said Walnut Creek has made his dealership feel welcome.

"The city has been very, very good to us," he said.

WC-Independent January 13, 2014 at 12:48 PM
Those cars are awesome. Love seeing, hearing them around town.


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