Dealers from Alabama and Maryland claim top NIADA honors

ORLANDO, Fla. - 

Independent dealers from Alabama and Maryland received two of the top national honors handed out by the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association.

During NIADA’s 72nd annual Convention and Expo in Orlando, Fla., Randy Crump, president of Friendly Auto Sales in Jasper, Ala., was named the 2018 National Quality Dealer of the Year.

Krietz Auto, a family business that has quickly grown into one of the strongest operations in the NIADA Certified Pre-Owned program, has been named NIADA CPO Dealer of the Year.

The accolades were all part of the event that drew the most attendees in the history of the conference.

In a ceremony webcast live from the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort on NIADA.TV, Crump was chosen from the 13 State Quality Dealers nominated for highest honor given among NIADA’s dealer members. He is the seventh NQD from Alabama, tying Texas for the most from any state.

 NIADA National Quality Dealer candidates are judged on a variety of factors, including contributions to the automotive industry, the association and community involvement.

 This year’s winner was chosen by a selection committee comprised of some of the most distinguished names in the used-vehicle industry. The committee included:

— AFC chief operating officer Joe Keadle
— NextGear Capital senior vice president of operations Randy Dohse
— NADA senior vice president and chief operating officer Mike Stanton
— Black Book vice president and North American auction director Tim West
— ADESA president John Hammer
— NIADA Region IV vice president and 2013 National Quality Dealer Joe McCloskey of McCloskey Motors
— Elgie Bright, chairman of the Automotive Marketing Department at Northwood University

In accepting the award, Crump credited his father, John, whom he calls “Wolf,” for much of his success.

“I’m a second-generation car dealer,” Randy Crump said, “and he’s given me the knowledge, the opportunity and the work ethic that’s required in today’s business. I can’t thank you enough, Wolf.”

Crump, 52, is a true auto industry lifer, having begun his career at age 7, sweeping floors and keeping the store clean for 25 cents an hour at his father’s dealership, John Crump Toyota.

 He wound up working in the dealership’s service department until high school, detailing cars and doing oil changes, and eventually served in every one of the operation’s departments through his high school’s co-op program. At 16, he sold his first vehicle, a 1981 Toyota Tercel.

 After earning a degree in business management from Northwood University in 1990, Crump again went to work for his father as used-car manager of a Mazda store, igniting a passion for the used-vehicle business.

 That passion helped fuel his decision to go out on his own. In 1999, he opened Friendly Auto Sales, a buy-here, pay-here operation that consisted of three people — Crump, a secretary and a car washer.

 “I did all the buying and selling myself,” he recalled.

That’s no longer the case. In 2006, he was able to add a collector and a salesman. In 2008, he replaced his original building with a new facility that included a detail shop, which was later joined by a repair shop.

These days, Friendly Auto Sales has a staff of seven, including two certified technicians, a one-acre lot, average annual sales of more than $2.2 million and a town filled with loyal customers, many of whom said the staff treats them “like family.”

Crump said that family atmosphere fits his hometown of Jasper, population 14,000.

“I like being from a small town,” he said. “To me, the best thing about this community is the mom and pop-type businesses that are established here.”

As the owner of one of those businesses, Crump is deeply embedded in his community through involvement in his church and organizations like the local Boy Scout council and the Salvation Army, working with area schools on various initiatives, including a job-shadowing program, volunteer work and charitable efforts such as providing rooms for the Homeless Coalition, donating vehicles to charitable organizations and contributing to help a junior high school build a baseball field.

“I simply feel it is extremely important to give back to the community,” Crump said. “When I was in middle school, one of my reading assignments was The Diary of Anne Frank. Something she said in her diary has always stuck with me: ‘No one has ever become poor from giving.’

 “I have tried to emulate that philosophy and make it one of my guiding principles to live by.”

 In keeping with that philosophy, NextGear Capital donated an emergency response vehicle in Crump’s name to his local chapter of the American Red Cross.

This will be the sixth emergency vehicle donated to the American Red Cross through Cox Automotive. Since 2015, the company has donated more than $750,000 to the American Red Cross to support disaster relief. The vehicle will be transported to the winner’s dealership and officially donated to the local American Red Cross chapter.

“Randy and his dealership exemplify what it means to be a committed community partner and their values align with those of Cox Automotive,” Dohse said. “We recognize the dedication and support they provide within their community and hope to bolster their efforts with the donation of this important, live-saving tool to the American Red Cross.”

Each year, the American Red Cross responds to nearly 64,000 disasters around the country— from home fires and tornadoes to severe winter weather, hurricanes and floods. Members of the Disaster Responder Program, like Cox Automotive, invest in disaster relief readiness to ensure supplies, shelters and emergency vehicles are ready to respond when disaster strikes.

Crump is a member of the Alabama IADA board of directors, as well as a member of an NIADA Dealer 20 Group.

Krietz Auto named NIADA CPO Dealer of the Year

Award Recognizes Maryland Dealership’s Rapid Rise to Certified Pre-Owned Success

Krietz Auto, a dealership in Frederick, Md., run by Charlie and Kim Krietz and their sons, Charles and Cory, became the second winner in the award’s three-year history after Todd Hoagey of Auction Direct USA claimed the first two honors.

The award recognizes the quality of dealership operations, the vehicle certification process, the number of CPO vehicles sold and the dealer’s commitment to providing a better product and level of service to his customers and the community.

In accepting the award, Charlie Krietz, who founded Krietz Auto as an auto repair shop 35 years ago, choked up with emotion as he recalled his journey to success.

“The dream I had, the vision, going through the recession and the hardships we went through with the family ... to be here today, among a lot of great people, is incredible,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of help. ... but our hunger and desire to survive, the passion – it was there.”

When he had to pause to compose himself, Krietz apologized. “I’m a little passionate,” he explained.

While Krietz Auto has been in business 35 years and was Maryland’s nominee for the 2017 National Quality Dealer award, it was only a year and a half ago that Charles Krietz met with Mike Sims of NIADA CPO administrator Warrantech to discuss getting involved in the program.

“I got with my family and said, ‘I met a really good guy today, and I think this is going to be a really good thing for us,’" Charles Kreitz recalled. “Fast forward a year, and we’re standing here getting this award.”

Now Krietz Auto is among the top operations in NIADA CPO sales, at about 180 CPO units per month. The Krietzes certify 100 percent of their qualifying vehicle inventory and have made major investments in training their 50-member staff in CPO sales, marketing, digital merchandising and reward/recognition incentive programs.

As a result, the dealership has doubled its F&I gross margin per unit since launching CPO program.

Krietz Auto is also very involved in its community as a major contributor to local organizations and programs such as 4H scholarships, Toys for Tots and youth sports teams.

Charles Krietz invited his fellow independent dealers to get in on the CPO action.

“Hopefully, all you guys can learn all about the program,” he said. “It’s a really great program. Look into it — you’re not going to go wrong.”

Donlen named one of Chicago's 'Best, Brightest' companies fourth year in a row


For the fourth consecutive year, Donlen has been named one of Chicago's Best and Brightest Companies to Work For by the National Association for Business Resources (NABR), the company announced Tuesday.

In addition to Donlen, NABR also recognized automotive fleet leasing and management company Wheels this year.

Donlen, Wheels and other winning companies will be recognized in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., next month on July 27 during a symposium and awards celebration at the Drury Lane Conference Center. 

“It is no surprise that the survey results show that Donlen employees value the many education and development opportunities available to them,” Donlen president Tom Callahan said in a news release. “Donlen is dedicated to providing all our employees the opportunity to grow and develop in a positive and productive work environment.

“We recognize that when our employees are fully engaged and satisfied, the service they provide to our customers is unmatched,” Callahan continued.

Winners named 2018 Chicago's Best and Brightest Companies to Work For were chosen by an independent research firm that judges each company in several different areas such as compensation, benefits and employee solutions; employee enrichment, engagement and retention; employee education and development; recruitment, selection and orientation; and employee achievement and recognition.

“Profitability and stability is essential for businesses in today’s economic climate,” said Jennifer Kluge, president and chief executive officer of Best and Brightest programs. “We are proud to honor this year’s winners.”

“Companies that recognize that their employees are the key to their success achieve staying power. Our 2018 winners create their human resource standards to ensure employee satisfaction, and they set standards for every business to aspire toward.” 

ARI honors 5 auctions, including a first-time winner


ARI recently honored five of its best-performing auction partners based on scorecard metrics such as days to sell, days to write a condition report, days to fund and days to pick up.

ARI added that the company changed its scorecard format by sending to auctions monthly and added a new metric for days to remove company logos and branding.

The auctions collecting honors included:

— Region 1 Northeast: Mountain State Auto Auction, a third-time winner

— Region 2 Upper Midwest: Missouri Auto Auction, a seven-time winner

— Region 3 Southeast: Dealers Auto Auction of Chattanooga, a first-time winner

— Region 4 Southwest: Houston Auto Auction, a third-time winner

— Region 5 West: ADESA Northwest, an 11-time winner                        

Partha Ghosh, director of vehicle supply chain and remarketing for ARI said, “We put high expectations onto our business partners and are proud of all of the auctions that have excelled at winning these awards.”

As a first-time winner, DAA Chattanooga general manager Doug Rodriguez added, “We are extremely honored to receive this award from a great business partner. Our team has worked hard to ensure that all of our customers receive the best service we can offer.”

DAA Chattanooga is part of the Dealers Auto Auction Group, which has six auction locations in the Southeast including Dealers Auto Auction of Memphis, Dealers Auto Auction of Murfreesboro, Dealers Auto Auction of Huntsville, Dealers Auto Auction of Jackson, Dealers Auto Auction of Mobile and Dealers Auto Auction of Chattanooga.

“We value our partnership with ARI and are proud of this recognition,” said David Andrews, owner and chief executive officer of Dealers Auto Auction Group.  “We look forward to a continued partnership and an even more successful year ahead.”

“We are very proud of the accomplishment that DAA Chattanooga has achieved. They work hard on our account, and it shows in their performance,” said Chris Clarke, manager of North American Remarketing of ARI

DAA Chattanooga, located at 2120 Stein Drive in Chattanooga, Tenn., has a facility that offers eight lanes on more than 50 acres.  Services include full reconditioning, mechanical and transportation services. 

The operation’s sale is held every week on Thursdays beginning at 9 a.m., and all auction lanes are simulcast. 

LHM store named on Arizona top workplace list 3rd consecutive year


Larry H. Miller Dodge Ram Avondale (LHM Dodge Ram Avondale) recently earned a spot on the list of the 2018 Top Companies to Work for in Arizona for the third consecutive year.

This year’s other auto industry winners include .

A total of 100 companies are chosen each year. Along with all of the companies being honored with an awards breakfast reception held at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess hotel, each one was set to be featured in a special supplement for Sunday (June 10) issue of The Arizona Republic, as well as online at and .

“It is a privilege for our dealership to receive this honor for the third year in a row,”, LHM Dodge Ram Avondale general manager Michael Messina said in a news release. “We continue to realize how important employee engagement is to the growth of our dealership and to our success. When the entire team is involved, the desire to serve our customers in the best way possible comes through. Teaching and growing our employees and challenging them to reach the next level has paid dividends to enhance our culture of customer care.”

Along with its employee incentive programs for customers, LHM Dodge Ram Avondale said that it has been recognized for the no-cost, no-debt online college degree opportunities for employees and their families, as well as various company perks like: a holiday bonus program, employee appreciation and birthday celebrations, community involvement and annual pinewood derby family competition.

“The level of employee engagement among Arizona companies is about three times the national average, making it even more challenging for a company in Arizona to make this list,” said Denise Gredler, founder and chief executive offcier of BestCompaniesAZ. “Being named one of the best places to work in Arizona by your own employees is a positive endorsement of a company’s culture; it also presents a powerful opportunity to attract and retain the very best talent.”

Each year, Top Companies to Work for in Arizona companies are determined by anonymous and comprehensive employee surveys designed to measure company culture, work environment, leadership, and employee pride and satisfaction.

NAAA legislative advocate receives Fellow honor


Just after recognizing the National Association of Motor Auctions as its first association Warren Young Sr., Fellow, the National Auto Auction Association (NAAA) announced Thursday that it has selected its 107th Fellow. The new recipient, Sante Esposito, is a member of its lobbying arm based in Washington, D.C.

Esposito was honored at NAAA’s annual Day On The Hill advocacy event this year. Esposito began working with NAAA as a legislative advocate in 2012. He is the managing partner for Federal Advocates, the governmental advocacy firm NAAA employed to strengthen its a physical presence in D.C.

NAAA said it wanted to honor its newest Warren Young Sr., Fellow for his effective representation, as well as the 37 years he's devoted to shaping public policy.

In January, chief executive officer Frank Hackett spoke with AuSM about the impact of NAAA growing its presence in Washington, D.C., and the political action committee that was formed in 2012. 

“Since 2012, Sante has successfully championed our membership's interests, protecting our industry from proposed onerous legislation requiring additional data disclosure and defending against stop sale laws for vehicles with open safety recalls,” NAAA president Warren Clauss said in a news release. “Through his representation, we've gained working relationships within Congress as well as brokered strong strategic partnerships with the National Automobile Dealers Association and the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association.”

In addition to receiving a gold medal and a framed commemorative certificate, NAAA said Esposito will also have his name engraved on a plaque of Fellows at NAAA headquarters.

Along with the honor, Esposito was presented with a $2,500 donation in his name to NAAA's nonprofit Warren Young Sr., Scholastic Foundation.

The 14-year-old foundation named in honor of auto auction industry pioneer Warren Young Sr., who retired after 35 years with NAAA, awards $52,000 in merit scholarships each year, according to NAAA.

2018 Women in Remarketing honorees

CARY, N.C.  - 

“Recognizing Excellence.”

That’s more than just the moniker under our Women in Remarketing logo. It’s one of the reasons why AuSM publishes this issue of the magazine each year.

This special feature, which can be found , recognizes excellence among the leaders of the remarketing and used-car business.

Each of the leaders honored in our Women in Remarketing program takes on different responsibilities within the industry, and the companies they represent encompass a diverse cross-section of the used-car market. Each has a unique and inspiring story to tell, both within and beyond the business world.

We would like to thank everyone who sent in Women in Remarketing nominations this year.

While there are many more women worthy of recognition, we could not spotlight all the nominees, as we are only able to recognize a select few each year.

But stay tuned to AuSM e-newsletters, as we will conduct another call for nominations early next year.

Below are this year's honorees, in alphabetical order by first name:

Anne Holtzman, Allied Solutions

Becky Puckett, Hyundai Capital America

Candice Lester, GM Financial

Clair Wallace, Equifax

Jennifer Leocardi, McConkey Auction Group

Julee S. Dunn, First Tech Federal Credit Union

Kelly Miller, RMS Automotive

Leslie Chambers, Andy Mohr Ford

Megan Lindsey, Ally

Melissa Trautman, MetroGistics

Mollie Lutfy, ALG

Nicole Graham-Ponce, Manheim Dallas-Fort Worth

Penny Wanna, Auction Academy/ TPC Mamagement/ ServNet Auctions

Sandy Whicker, ADESA

Sandy Moon, NextGear Capital 

Stacey White, KAR Auction Services

Tammy Swofford, America's Auto Auction

Tina Viens, Insurance Auto Auctions

Tracy Noonan Fred, Xtime 

Tricia Green, TradeRev

Check out the  to learn more about these outstanding industry leaders.

The 2018 Women in Remarketing class will be honored at , which is scheduled for Nov. 12-16 at The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Ariz. 

Ally Financial names CFAA as Auction of the Year


Columbus Fair Auto Auction added another piece of hardware to its trophy case this week.

In a ceremony prior the start of Wednesday’s sale, CFAA was awarded Ally Financial’s Auction of the Year Leadership Award for 2017.

The award recognizes the auctions’ overall sales, performance and growth for the year.

This accolade marks the third year in a row that CFAA has earned the award.

“Ally Financial appreciates the hard work and effort the Columbus Fair team does on our behalf,” said Tom Moore, Ally’s director of remarketing for the Eastern region. “This continues to be a great partnership for Ally and its dealer customers and the results speak for themselves with Columbus Fair having won this award three years running.”

Columbus Fair Auto Auction owner Alexis Jacobs added, “We value our relationship with Ally both commercial lease and repo. We are proud of the recognition and we look forward to continued success in 2018 and beyond.”

Lexus, Chrysler take top honors at Texas Auto Roundup

DECATUR, Texas - 

After driving over 40 vehicles through a series of exercises on a 2.5-mile racetrack, members of the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) voted for Lexus and Chrysler to take home the top two awards at this year’s Texas Auto Roundup.

Over the course of two days, 49 TAWA members learned about a total of 46 different vehicles from several manufacturer representatives before taking them on slalom, acceleration and braking tests at Eagles Canyon Raceway in Decatur, Texas last week.

TAWA members cover the automotive industry for print, online and broadcast outlets throughout the country.

The 2018 Lexus LC 500 and the 2018 Chrysler Pacifica received the 2018 Texas Auto Roundup Car of Texas and Family Car of Texas awards, respectively.

“Our journalists had a clear decision after driving vehicles at a new venue this year,” TAWA president Michael Marrs said in a news release. “They thought the new Lexus LC stood out among the competitors for its eye-catching looks and refined but muscular performance on the track.”

In addition to this year’s sponsor, the Steel Market Development Institute, Polaris Slingshot and Wieck Media also supported the 2018 Texas Auto Roundup awards.

Below is a full list of all other category award winners this year:

Winner: 2018 Infiniti QX80
Runner-Up: 2018 Jeep Wrangler

Winner: 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback
Runner-Up: 2018 Volkswagen Golf R

Winner: 2018 Toyota Camry
Runner-Up: 2018 Volkswagen Passat

Winner: 2019 Toyota Avalon
Runner-Up: 2018 Honda Accord

Winner: 2018 Lexus LS 500
Runner-Up: 2019 Infiniti QX50

Winner: 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
Runner-Up: 2018 Honda Clarity

Winner: 2018 Honda Civic Type R
Runner-Up: 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Winner: 2018 Lexus LC 500
Runner-Up: 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody

Winner: 2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
Runner-Up: 2018 Kia Stinger

Winner: 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
Runner-Up: 2018 Dodge Durango SRT

Winner: 2018 Mercedes-Benz GT R
Runner-Up: 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

Winner: World’s First Production-Ready Variable Compression Ratio Engine, 2019 Infiniti QX50

Winner: 2019 Toyota Avalon Touring

Honda dominates KBB Brand Image Awards

IRVINE, Calif. - 

Kelley Blue Book recently announced its 2018 Brand Image Award winners, and Honda, Lexus and Ford took the top spots after receiving the highest average scores among 12 brand watch factors.

In addition to being named 2018 Best Value Brand and Most Refined Brand, Honda took home the Best Overall Brand title for the first time since 2015.

This year, KBB selected brand winners using annual new-car buyer perception data from the Kelley Blue Book Strategic Insights' Brand Watch study.

“Building familiarity and loyalty among car shoppers has never been more important to automakers, especially as the market is flooded with all-new and redesigned models competing for market share,” KBB director of media strategic insights Hwei-Lin Oetken said in a news release.

“The combination of compelling product and marketing communications continues to influence purchase consideration. This year's winners have attracted car shoppers based on many attributes that are important to consumers, and motivate them toward their ultimate purchase decision.” Oetken continued.

KBB’s 2018 Brand Image Award winners include:

Non-Luxury Brands

  • Honda - Best Overall Brand
  • Subaru - Most Trusted Brand
  • Honda - Best Value Brand
  • Honda - Most Refined Brand
  • Mazda - Best Performance Brand
  • Mazda - Best Car Styling Brand

Luxury Brands

  • Lexus - Best Overall Luxury Brand
  • Lexus - Most Trusted Luxury Brand
  • Buick - Best Value Luxury Brand
  • Mercedes-Benz - Most Refined Luxury Brand
  • Porsche - Best Performance Luxury Brand
  • Jaguar - Best Car Styling Luxury Brand

Truck Brand

  • Ford - Best Overall Truck Brand

Award categories are calculated among luxury, non-luxury and truck shoppers.

For the fifth year in a row, the Ford brand has once again been named the Best Overall Truck Brand.

The American brand has earned the distinction every year, except in 2013, when Toyota took home the title.

Additionally, Lexus has been recognized as the Best Overall Luxury Brand for the third consecutive year, as well as Most Trusted Luxury Brand for 2018.

“Lexus' tradition of high-quality products and its recent emphasis on style and emotion, contributed to the brand's win,” said KBB.

The luxury brand’s ES, NX, RX and LS models also received high ratings among consumers for this year's study.

The Strategic Insights' Brand Watch study captures how shoppers view important factors that influence their purchase decisions.

KBB’s 12 brand watch factors include: affordability, driving comfort, driving performance, durability/reliability, exterior styling, fuel efficiency, interior layout, prestige/sophistication, reputation, ruggedness, safety and technology.

Click  for more information about the 2018 Brand Image Award winners.

CPS honors 2 Missouri auctions

IRVINE, Calif. - 

Two independent auctions collected accolades from a consignor that specializes in originating contracts within the subprime credit space.

Consumer Portfolio Services announced its 2017 auction award winners during a private ceremony at the CAR Conference earlier this month in Las Vegas.

This year’s CPS Top Gun Award as the finance company’s Auction of the Year was awarded to 166 Auto Auction from Springfield, Mo. To qualify for this award, the finance company indicated the auction must finish the year in the top 5 for large CPS volume sales in retention, then go through the voting process of the entire internal and external CPS remarketing teams.

CPS became partners with 166 AA in late 2014 and since then, 166 AA has gone on to receive the Operational Excellence Award in 2015 and the CPS Heavy Hammer Award in 2016 prior to earning the 2017 CPS Top Gun Award.

Ace Tetlow, assistant general manager at 166 AA, said, “The team at 166 Auto Auction is honored to receive this award and grateful for the partnership we have with CPS, truly a great company to partner with at the auction level.”

The 2017 CPS Heavy Hammer Award for highest sales retention went to KCI-Kansas City Independent Auto Auction of Kansas City, Mo. The Heavy Hammer Award is awarded to one CPS partner auction in the nation who achieved the highest sales retention for the entire year.

This was KCI’s first CPS auction award after coming extremely close on many other occasions.

“It’s an honor for our KCI team to achieve this award from CPS,” said Jennifer Leocardi, who is vice president of national sales for McConkey Auction Group. “All year long, we’re discussing and implementing ways to continue to build the best market for CPS vehicles, and we have obviously set the bar high.”

CPS remarketing manager Mike Scott added, “We are extremely proud to honor our top performing auctions each year through the auction award/recognition program.

“For the 2017 awards, we saw some familiar faces at the ceremony along with many auctions earning their first CPS award,” Scott went on to say. “The competition the program creates for the auctions is terrific and to watch the auctions compete throughout the year, inquiring about how they stack up to their competition, is a testament to the commitment these auctions have to the success of CPS in the remarketing world.”