Special Report

Ward’s
MegaDealer 100

SILVER SPRING, MD – If there was a “Woman Dealer of the Year” award, the 2009 trophy might go to Tamara Darvish, vice-president of the Darcars Automotive Group.

Not only did she help lead the group to a high spot on the Ward’s Megadealer 100, but the daughter of group founder and chairman John R. Darvish co-formed the Committee to Restore Dealer Rights.

Although it ruffled some feathers in the industry, the committee’s efforts aided in the restoration of hundreds of terminated General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC dealers.

“Without Tammy's energy and dedication, the arbitration process (enacted by the U.S. Congress) that came out of our efforts might never have been implemented,” says committee co-founder Alan Spitzer.

Darvish has been active in the family business since graduating from high school in 1981 and Northwood University in 1984.

She was closely involved in the dealership group's growth, including the purchase of a Toyota dealership in1986 that became the top store in the mid-Atlantic region. Darcars was established in 1977, and now its 26 stores handle 31 franchises.

Last year, the Darcars group sold 15,675 new and 8,908 used units, compared with 17,984 new and 10,242 used in 2008. Gross revenue dropped from $919.8 million to $773.1 million.

Darvish is an active employer of 22 students this year in the Washington Area New Automobile Dealers Assn.’s intern-training program. She has two children, Nadia, 15, and Mina, 12.

“Twenty-five years ago, I made a commitment to myself to pursue excellence in the automotive industry. I saw this commitment challenged in 2009 and 2008, but we all have many challenges now that we didn't expect.

“I think our industry would be better served if more people recognized the significance and importance that we as women can and do contribute.”

Darcars lost a Chevrolet dealership and two Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep stores when GM and Chrysler slashed their dealership ranks.

The committee she co-founded now is helping spurned dealers with the arbitration process and plans to remain an active guardian of dealer rights, says Darvish, who foresees it as a permanent group “We are here to stay.”

The next project: “Get both GM and Chrysler a captive finance company.”