Bert Ogden Dealership is marking a 35-year partnership with Mazda, highlighted by the recent opening of its new hi-tech showroom in Edinburg.

The dealership “soft-opened” last week what will be the only import car line in Edinburg housed in a standalone facility, and will be included in Mazda’s nationwide “Retail Revolution” campaign. The dealership is looking to open the state-of-the-art showroom located at the corner of Trenton and Business 281 at a grand opening in March.

“Mazda has been successful nationwide, and more so now that they are separating themselves from Ford,” said Bert Odgen CEO Robert Vackar. “Mazda came to us, (because) our dealership in Mission has been very successful, so we decided to build that same dealership because Edinburg has been our primary market for the past 35 years.”

“Our outlook is that this is one of the most strategic and well located areas left in the Rio Grande Valley,” Vackar said.

Bert Ogden initially opened its multi-year renovation “Revolution” project in Nov. 2006 in Mission. The new dealership in Edinburg is similar save for the fact that the facility was built from the ground up, according to management.

The dealership features include an orange, silver and green color scheme modeled on the color of the car that won the 1991 24 hour Lemanz car race, which was also the first year any japanese car maker won the 24-hour race.

The dealership includes a “jewelbox,” which lifts a car enclosed in glass on a lift, and changed every few days by the dealership, according to management.

An open showroom concept features video game consoles where customers can virtually race cars, a 42-inch plasma TV, a café and computers with wireless Internet access.

Bert Ogden is currently projecting to sell 35 to 50 Mazdas a month as a result of the new showroom, boosting sales they haven’t seen in the last 8 to 10 years ago, according to Vackar.

“Our import line seems to be holding. Mazda in the first week of the month of February sold more Mazdas than we did for the entire month (of February) last year,” he said. “What we are projecting…gets us back basically to where we were 8 to 10 years ago.”

Bert Ogden is currently building another standalone dealership for Pontiac/GMC/Buick along Expressway 281. The General Motors designed showroom will be an open air facility to be tentatively completed late this year.

The dealership also plans to bring a new car line, India-based Mahindra, and its line of general-purpose utility vehicles, tractors and light commercial vehicles to the area by November or December of this year.