Biz Beat

New state-of-the-art Modesto Mazda brings brand back to city after decade away

After a 10-year absence, Mazda is back in Modesto.

The new Modesto Mazda opened at the end of March on north McHenry Avenue. The dealership is part of the Central Valley Automotive group, which also includes the Modesto Chrysler, Dodge, Hyundai, Jeep, Nissan, Ram, Volkswagen and Infiniti dealerships.

The new 15,900-square-feet full-service dealership was constructed next to the Infiniti dealership just south of Claratina Avenue, with a state-of-the-art showroom and service department. Central Valley Automotive President John Gardner said the new Modesto Mazda will be the regional hub for the brand. Dealerships in Stockton and Merced have shuttered, so Modesto will draw from across the valley.

“The phone has been ringing off the hook from people,” Gardner said. “Customers are coming from all around the area.”

The dealership is only the second in California to be built from the ground up with the new jewel-box design. Big screen TVs, glass offices and cars — even cars on top of cars — greet customers as they walk in. A modified shop lift has been installed with two cars displayed, one on top and one on bottom, at the front window.

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The new Modesto Mazda dealership on McHenry Avenue opened at the end of March. Central Valley Automotive President John Gardner (left) and Simile Construction CEO Guy Simile stand in front of the dealership they built. Marijke Rowland

“I think when people come to visit they’ll be impressed. It’s a very contemporary style; the layout is beautiful,” Gardner said.

The build was handled by Modesto-based Simile Construction and was even completed a little ahead of schedule. The dealership was originally supposed to open at the start of April, but instead debuted three days early, on March 28.

The dealership sells the full line of Mazda vehicles, including its just-released and redesigned Mazda3. The lot currently has about 100 cars and is expected to sell between 50 to 100 cars per month to start out. The dealership also buys and sells used cars, including Mazdas and other models.

Current Mazda owners in the area are being offered a free oil change to welcome them to the new dealership. Modesto last had a Mazda dealership in 2009, but it became another victim of the Great Recession and closed. This is the second major brand to enter the Modesto market in six months. Last October Audi Modesto opened across the street from the Infiniti and Mazda dealerships.

Modesto Mazda, at 4100 McHenry Ave., is open for sales every day from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and for service from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 Monday to Friday. For more information call 209-526-3303 or visit

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Marijke Rowland writes about new business, restaurant and retail developments. She has been with The Modesto Bee since 1997 covering a variety of topics including arts and entertainment. Her Business Beat column runs midweek and Sundays. And it’s pronounced Mar-eye-ke.
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