Background: Owns several dealerships on the 500 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.”
Background: He 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.”
Background: CEO of Utah-based Larry H. Miller Group of Companies.
Perspective: When he became CEO in 2008, he visited all 41 of the family firm's dealerships, telling staffers, “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.”
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. The dealerships now ranks as the No.1 BMW seller in the U.S.
Perspective: “Our 280 employees couldn't be working for a finer brand, nor could I.”
Background: Runs 22-store Wilson Automotive Group which 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.”
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.”