Locally-owned for 37 years, Solana Beach’s Drive AutoCare specializes in high-quality car repairs and maintenance. Admittedly “obsessive” in their quest to exceed the expectations of the community, they are now offering concierge services for customers. If that check engine light comes on or the brakes start squeaking, all customers have to do is call and Drive will pick up the car for services and drop it back home when it’s done.
“Our mission statement is ‘Trustworthy advice and legendary service’ and that is a big deal in our industry. All we have is our trust,” said principal Alan “Mitt” Mittleman. “We build trust, over-communicate and provide great service. We have an amazing team that can handle all domestic, foreign and exotic cars.”
Drive AutoCare President Mike Gilmore opened his original shop in 1980, then called California Import Auto on the corner of Highway 101 and Cliff Street in Solana Beach. In 2003, they opened the North Coast Alignment location on North Cedros Avenue and they expanded east in 2005 with Align-Tech in Escondido. In 2015, they rebranded all locations as Drive AutoCare.
Mittleman, a Solana Beach resident for 22 years, was one of Gilmore’s customers first before becoming his business partner.
The community-based business gives back to Solana Beach in many ways, supporting Solana Beach Little League teams, the Boys & Girls Club and is a sponsor of local events such as Fiesta del Sol. Their eye-catching Drive logo has been emblazoned on baseball caps and Mittleman gets a kick out of seeing them worn by customers around town.
As Drive outgrew its original Cedros location, it moved a few buildings down a year ago into a formerly run-down old shop. They completely renovated the building, offering not only a comfortable and modern space for customers but rebuilt the shop with new equipment such as the best in diagnostic computers and tools.
“The dealer is really our biggest competitor,” Mittleman said. “We offer much better value in our pricing and our technicians are the best in the industry.”
About nine months ago, Drive added a big draw in Danny and Kelly Johnson, who for years worked at Fairbanks Ranch Mobil. Drive was thrilled to get Kelly manning their front desk as she is a “fantastic” service manager and Mittleman said Danny is “the best mechanic we’ve ever seen”— he said Danny is extremely experienced working on higher-end vehicles.
Partly to continue servicing the Johnson’s loyal customers in the Fairbanks Ranch and Rancho Santa Fe areas, Drive began offering the concierge service nine months ago. For no additional cost, customers can call in and have their car picked up and worked on for their regularly scheduled or non-scheduled maintenance. Drive will complete the work and return the car to the home, a big time-saving convenience.
“Customers just love it,” said Mittleman. “This is just another level of service that makes it easier for the customers.”
Drive can communicate with customers with their convenient texting services and they also have an app that makes it simple for customers to make appointments, get services from partnering body shops and car washes, and receive monthly special offers. Drive is also a STAR-certified smog test and repair station.
Visit Drive AutoCare locations in Solana Beach at 128 North Cedros Avenue and 371 North Highway 101. To learn more, visit driveautocare.com
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