DALLAS – Gary Rome, who is credited with treating people right, giving generously and embracing new technology, is the 2023 Time Dealer of the Year in partnership with Ally Financial.
Rome (pictured, below left), owner of a namesake Hyundai dealership in Holyoke, MA, wins the annual honor at the 106th National Automobile Dealers Assn.’s annual convention.
Judges say they picked him because of his credo of treating both employees and customers like family, embracing new technology and financially supporting various causes.
Dealers nationwide were nominated for a variety of positive initiatives.
Rome’s state-of-the-art Hyundai store is powered by a solar field. He also has increased his investment in electric-vehicle infrastructure and inventory.
He was one of the first U.S. dealers to sell a Hyundai battery-electric vehicle. He increased his EV sales 38% in 2022 over the previous year.
Runner-up finalists were:
- Mark Brickey, Sand Mountain Toyota, Albertville, AL.
- Bruce Daniels, Honda Marysville, Marysville, OH.
- Tim Hutcherson, Downey Nissan, Downey, CA.
Ally Auto President Doug Timmerman and Time CEO Jessica Sibley announced Rome as the winner at a convention ceremony that honored all 48 nominees.
“As the auto industry continues to evolve, it is imperative that auto dealers continue to embrace new technologies that will move the industry forward,” says Timmerman.
“Year after year, we see these auto dealers go above and beyond for their customers, communities and employees,” he adds.
Sibley says, “We are proud to continue the legacy of honoring these works of service with our partners at Ally."
Ally will give $10,000 to the charity of Rome’s choice and $5,000 to each of the nonprofit organizations that the three finalists select. Ally also will give $1,000 to the charities of choice for each of the 48 nominees.
Rome is a second-generation dealer who owns a Kia store in Connecticut in addition to his Hyundai dealership.
He supports various charities, including Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Jimmy Fund, Hyundai Hope on Wheels and breast cancer research organizations.
He was cited for holding milestone events for his employees and community, such as raffles and themed luncheons.
He also hosts an annual program that rewards a deserving Holyoke High School senior with a new car.
A faculty panel at the University of Michigan selected the award’s winner and regional finalists. Local and state dealer groups pick the nationwide nominees.