The 1998 Chevy Blazer (pictured) is similar to the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox in size and even price. However, the Equinox and most vehicles today come equipped with more efficient engines as well as technology that was unheard of back in 1998. COURTESY PHOTO

The 1998 Chevy Blazer (pictured) is similar to the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox in size and even price. However, the Equinox and most vehicles today come equipped with more efficient engines as well as technology that was unheard of back in 1998. COURTESY PHOTO

For longtime FW auto dealership, some things never change | Mirror’s 20th anniversary

Jet Chevrolet advertised in the Mirror’s inaugural edition and is still doing business today.

Jet Chevrolet is among a handful of businesses that advertised in the Federal Way Mirror’s inaugural edition on Feb. 4, 1998 – and are still doing business today.

In fact, the family-owned auto dealership has lasted 41 years and counting in Federal Way, including 28 years at its current location, 35700 Enchanted Parkway S.

Jet Chevrolet opened for business long before bluetooth technology, satellite radio, video screens, rearview backup cameras, keyless entry and GPS navigation became standard equipment on vehicles.

The nature of auto sales has also changed dramatically during the past two decades because of the rise of the internet. According to marketing manager Matt Wicks, today’s car buyers are much more savvy and do their own research on prices before visiting the dealership.

To entice customers these days, auto dealerships now offer incentives such as lifetime warranties and lifetime oil changes as part of the price. Just like in 1998, pickup trucks still top the list of the dealership’s best-selling vehicles, Wicks said.

One model that made its debut in 1998 is the Chevrolet Silverado. Vehicles were easier to repair back in 1998 due to the lack of computerized parts, said Wicks, who quickly noted that the quality of vehicles in 2018 is “leaps and bounds better” today with all the technology.

Today’s electronic monitoring systems also notify drivers about problems under the hood.

“The engines are twice as good as they used to be, and the quality of oil is way better,” he said Styles and tastes have changed too.

Electric vehicles such the Volt and Bolt are steadily rising in popularity. As for colors, there were no burnt orange or bright green vehicles on the road back in 1998, but then again, there are few teal vehicles on the road today.

Despite the rapid evolution in the way vehicles are bought and sold in 2018, one crucial element has always remained the same for the Johnson family’s Jet Chevrolet: “We still do business with a handshake,” Wicks said. “That hasn’t changed.”


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First edition of the Federal Way Mirror, Feb. 4, 1998.

First edition of the Federal Way Mirror, Feb. 4, 1998.

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Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He recently retired as president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and now lives in Vancouver. He can be contacted at thebrunells@msn.com.
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