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 adealer 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, 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, 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 astore. 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 (and Suzuki) and added more-profitable , Chevrolet and 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.”