Athans Motors offers luxury vehicles, luxury atmosphere
Pete Athans, president of Athans Motors, poses Oct. 23 for a portrait at the dealership. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 2, 2012 6:11AM
MORTON GROVE — Athans Motors’ motto, “Driven by Passion,” reflects owner Pete Athans’ love of cars and sports.
The Morton Grove business, 9040 Waukegan Road, sells upscale used cars like a Jaguar that tempts passing motorists.
The business has rooms dedicated to Chicago teams with jerseys mounted and framed from past and present players like the Bulls’ Michael
Jordan, the Bears’ Dick Butkus and the Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane.
Behind an expansive desk in Athans’ office is a wall covered with a pyramid of display cases, each holding an autographed football helmet. Two of them, carrying the signatures of Super Bowl MVPs, have been dipped in pewter.
Athans’ website has photos of him with Erin Thorn, formerly of the Chicago Sky, and Adewale Ogunleye, a former Bear.
“I love football more than anything,” Athans said.
Of course, Athans Motors’ main purpose is to sell used luxury cars, mostly from Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Porsche and Lexus although he also has a sporty Aston Martin for sale.
Athans took over the location, a former Saab Exchange, three years ago and only performed service for the first year and a half during extensive remodeling.
These days, even with an active service department, cars sales are a big part of the business. In addition to selling what he has in stock, Athans will find a specific car for a customer looking for something not on the lot. He also sells nationwide and is able to handle his own financing.
“I’m trying to give the customer the experience of a franchise store at an affordable price,” Athans said. “Everything a franchise store does for a customer we can do also, but for about 20 percent less.”
That includes having certified mechanics for each brand of vehicle he sells. Athans said his sales and service employees don’t work on commission, and he fills a need for customers who want a luxury car but can’t afford a new one.
“As long as they’re willing to let me search for the car they want, I can save them money,” Athans said. “I have relationships with a lot of dealers throughout the country.”
He takes pride in the condition of the vehicles he sells. He said they undergo a tough inspection, and unreliable parts are replaced before the vehicles are sold.
“Nobody preconditions the cars like we do,” he said.
Athans offers free loaners when cars are brought in for service. He said the entire shop is geared toward customers’ comfort. The lounge has large theater chairs, four large-screen televisions and a pair of “Fast and Furious Super Cars” arcade machines that give customers a chance to pretend they are racing a sports car.
The store’s glossy look extends to the service area — a huge, airy pace with a polished floor.
Athans is personally partial to Audis and Mercedes, but when he needs a vehicle, he drives whatever is available.