Have you driven a Ford — lately?

The numbers assault you.

A sweeping 11 acres of land.

More than 76,000 square feet of floor space in two mammoth buildings.

A mechanics’ bay 285 feet long and 85 feet wide with 48 skylights and air conditioning.

Finally, 126 employees swarm all around the entire $12 million complex.

Yet all the customer cares about is the sleek, stealth-black, brand new 2002 Thunderbird with its retro styling and 265-horsepower power plant — $38,000, depending on options.

Parr Ford, perhaps physically the largest new car dealership in the Auto Center area of West Bremerton, is now open for business and serving customers from Poulsbo to Gig Harbor.

According to owner Rod Parr, business has never been better, despite the recent slowdown in the economy.

“October was our biggest month ever,” he said.

Like many car dealerships currently, Parr is offering 0.0 percent annual percentage rates (APR) as an incentive for customers to buy. And they are buying.

When asked if the reports are true that car manufacturers are losing an average of $100 per vehicle with the 0.0 percent rates, Parr said that hasn’t been the case at his dealership.

“We’re doing fine,” he said. “It’s a great time for customers.”

In addition to the dealership’s star car, the new Thunderbird, Parr’s best seller has been the Ranger pick-up truck.

“It’s our hottest seller,” he said of the truck. “We go through 25 to 30 per month.”

Parr proudly gave a guided tour of his new state-of-the-art facility on the west side of State Highway 3 just south of Werner Road. Despite the rain Tuesday, Nov. 20, plenty of customers were busy looking at cars — both new and used. Parr’s new cars are Fords and Mazdas. Used cars are all makes and models. New cars range from the affordable Ford “Focus” at about $10,000 to the Power-stroke Crew-cab diesel trucks at $43,000 to $45,000.

Parr said one of the things he’s proudest of is not the sheer size of the facility, but the new way his company is doing business.

“Each office has a team leader and the same five technicians (mechanics) service the vehicle of the same customer each time they come in,” he said. “It’s kind of like taking your car to the corner shop, but with all the amenities.”

The consistency of service to customers makes for quick and easy repairs and maintenance, he said.

“In the past at a dealership, you might come back and have 19 different mechanics work on your car,” he said. “This way, the mechanic really gets to know your car and you really get to know and trust your mechanic.”

Parr has owned car dealerships in Bremerton 18 years. He was born in Auburn and raised in Kent. He helped start Bowen Scarff Ford in Kent in 1965.

He studied creative marketing at San Jose State in California and went to work for Korum Ford in Puyallup in the 1970s. He wanted to participate with a Ford dealership somewhere in western Washington but wasn’t sure where. Research led him to Bremerton’s auto center — over Silverdale or East Bremerton — as the ideal spot.

He partnered with Bennett Ford in Bremerton in the 1980s and eventually bought out the 17,000-square-foot dealership.

Parr broke ground on his new site two years ago. The land was hilly, which presented a challenge. An 18-foot high, 1,200-foot long retaining wall was built along the back of the site to level the parcel.

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