WILSON AUTOMOTIVE is a family of dealerships and related companies that specializes in the retail sales and service of vehicles. Included in these companies are nineteen automobile dealerships with locations in California, Arizona, Nevada, and Mexico. These 19 international operations support more than 2,000 employees and produce nearly $2 billion dollars in retail sales annually, making Wilson Automotive one of the largest privately held auto groups in the nation. The organization is characterized by its emphasis on customer loyalty and retention, its outstanding reputation in the automotive industry, and its dedicated involvement in the local communities as a generous and supportive corporate citizen.
The Company had its beginnings in 1983 when David Wilson, the new general manager of Toyota of Orange, bought 25% of the dealership. Between 1983 and 1985, when Wilson purchased the dealership outright, sales volume increased from 2,500 vehicles per year and $30 million in sales to nearly 10,000 vehicles per year and over $200 million in sales. Since that time the organization has grown from that one Toyota dealership with 90 employees to encompass a group of 8 Toyota dealerships (including one in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico), 3 Lexus dealerships, 3 Honda dealerships, 2 Ford dealerships, and an Acura, Mazda and Volkswagen dealership .
The Company attributes it success and growth to its strong emphasis on customer loyalty. A large portion of the Company's business is due to return customers. Wilson Automotive realizes the necessity of building a relationship with our customers so they will return to our dealerships, and refer family and friends as well.
Of prime importance in building customer loyalty is first creating and maintaining employee loyalty. The Wilson philosophy is "take care of your employees; and they will take care of your customers." In an industry notorious for excessive employee turnover, Wilson Automotive associate retention is exceptional. As a result of our "Always Promote From Within" policy there is great opportunity for employee growth and advancement. The majority of management has been with the organization a minimum of 5 years, many as long as 25 or 30 years. Wilson Automotive believes and practices "treat employees as you want your customers to be treated. Satisfied employees create satisfied customers." The result of this philosophy is that Wilson Automotive is respected as a leader in the industry, and has been able to consistently grow while maintaining the personal relationships so important to employee and customer loyalty.
Wilson Automotive places strong emphasis on recruiting, training and retaining qualified professional employees. The Company's 401K plan and other extensive employee benefits are unique within the industry. This emphasis on taking care of our valuable associates increases employee motivation and satisfaction, which in turn promotes customer satisfaction. These quality associates continue to grow in knowledge, experience and value to the Company. As a result, there is always a need for management- level positions in which to place these individuals. While many dealerships are constantly searching for qualified employees, Wilson Automotive is searching for new dealerships in which to place its loyal, skilled, long-term employees.
As more and more customers return to the Company's group of dealerships, the organization has expanded to meet customer demand. This has resulted in diversification to include an aftermarket distributorship, and domestic as well as import auto dealerships. For instance, the company realized that in a slow economy, when people are not buying new cars, they are spending more money maintaining their older vehicles. So the dealerships significantly expanded their service departments during the economic downturn to accommodate these clients. As business has improved, the dealerships are upgrading showrooms and customer areas. Every facility is equipped with wi-fi for customer use. Several contain cafes and shopping boutiques (such as Tommy Bahama and Oakley) - one even features a putting green. These are just a few of the enhancements implemented at our dealerships in an effort to be a full-service automotive destination and to expand to meet all the needs of our customers.
In 2014 Wilson Automotive dealerships sold nearly 60,000 new and used retail units - and achieved the highest manufacturer awards for customer satisfaction. As it continues to grow and provide ever-expanding services for its customers and growth opportunities for its employees, Wilson Automotive is determined to remember that the customer is the lifeblood of any business, and that loyal employees and customers are any company's greatest assets.
On August 15, at approximately 5:00 p.m. David Wilson became the first dealer in history to sell 500,000 (yes, that is half a million!) Toyota/Scion/Lexus vehicles.
In typical fashion, Wilson celebrated by DONATING the 500,000th car, a Habanero Orange Prius c, to Orangewood Children's Foundation. The Prius will be used to benefit the Children's Trust Fund, which provides college scholarships to former foster youth. The David Wilson Endowment Fund at Orangewood was established to also provide college scholarships to former residents of Orangewood who might not otherwise be able to afford a post-secondary education.
Toyota honored David and his partners and corporate associates with a reception in Las Vegas prior to the Toyota Dealer Meeting. Bob Carter, Senior Vice President of Automotive Operations for Toyota Motor Sales USA; Bill Fay, Group Vice President and General Manager of the Toyota Division of Toyota Motor Sales, Mike Groff, President and CEO of TFS, and Doug Eroh, General Manager of Toyota's Los Angeles region were on hand to congratulate David on being "a great partner to Toyota that truly embodies Toyota's "'Let's Go Places" philosophy."