Special Report

2011 Ward's Dealer 500

The Ward’s Dealer 500 is an exclusive club. Here are some long-standing stand-out members and their perspectives on the business.

Name: Fletcher Jones

Background: Several dealerships on the list, including No.1, Fletcher Jones Motorcars in Newport Beach, CA. Began as a Mazda dealer in 1971.

Perspective: Even as a young dealer, he realized the importance of hiring the “brightest team to retain customers for the years ahead.”

Name: Don Crevier

Background: Heads a long-time member of the Ward’s Dealer 500, Crevier BMW, a Southern California dealership started by his father, Bob Crevier, back when BMW was a low-volume brand with a limited but loyal following. It’s now the No.1 BMW seller in the U.S.

Perspective: “Our 280 employees couldn’t be working for a finer brand, nor could I.”

Name: Rick Case

Background: Runs Rick Case Automotive Group based in Florida and operating in three states. Rita Case is both a business and marriage partner. They met at a dealer 20-Group. Case at age 14 sold his first car, an old Ford, out of his parents’ driveway.

Perspective: “Treat every customer like you would your best friend.”

Name: David Wilson

Background: Runs 22-store Wilson Automotive Group that includes a $75 million Lexus store in Newport Beach, CA. His dealership career began badly as a mechanic whose botched job ruined an engine. Banished from the service department, he began selling cars. His group’s revenues were $1.1 billion last year.

Perspective: “Just as players are motivated in golf and tennis to strive for higher rankings, so dealership employees want to work for a store that’s always climbing.”

Name: Greg Miller

Background: CEO of Utah-based Larry H. Miller Group of Companies. Its holdings include 41 dealerships. Larry Miller started the enterprise with a Toyota store. Son Greg Miller made his way to the top by working at various jobs in the organization, including a stint as a dealership general manager.

Perspective: When he became CEO in 2008, he visited all of the group’s dealerships in seven states and told the staff, “As a family, we can provide the capital, the buildings, the inventory and the advertising. But those things don’t matter without people breathing life into the operation.”

Name: Jay Cimino

Background: Heads Colorado-based Phil Long Automotive Group, consisting of 10 new-car and seven used-car operations. During the economic hard times, the company sold off some brands (Mitsubishi and Suzuki) and added more-profitable Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota lines. Has several dealerships on the Ward’s Dealer 500. His four children are in the business

Perspective: “Through this new environment, we are selling more cars and trucks. And we are stronger than ever.”

sfinlay@wardsauto.com