Auto retailing thrives on new. New vehicles. New marketing methods and advertising campaigns. And new blood. Meet the men and women who make up the fourth annual Automotive News listing of 40 Under 40 Retail: 40 up-and-comers who already are making their mark in dealerships. These individuals are applying the lessons of the past with the techniques of today to carry vehicle retailing into the future. And they're delivering astounding results.
40 Under 40 Video
|POSITION:||Co-president, Dimmitt Automotive Group, Clearwater, Fla.|
Peter Dimmitt was given the opportunity of a career in just his second year in automotive retail: the chance to land a McLaren franchise.
McLaren, the British purveyor of exotic sports cars, was planning in 2010 to establish a small U.S. dealership network. Dimmitt, then 26, visited McLaren's U.K. headquarters to make his pitch for a franchise, along with his COO, Scott Larguier.
"Putting together that marketing plan was surreal," says Dimmitt, now 31. "It almost felt like a school project. All of a sudden, we are sitting in front of McLaren making our pitch."
He became dealer principal of Dimmitt Automotive Group early this year along with his brother, Richard Dimmitt Jr., upon the retirement of their father, Richard Dimmitt Sr.
Whatever his approach, it worked. Dimmitt landed the McLaren franchise and is now one of just three McLaren dealers in the U.S. Southeast region.
"We were able to sell them on who we were and what we had been able to do with our client base," Peter Dimmitt says.
That client base includes a lot of Rolls-Royce and Bentley owners -- Dimmitt Automotive has been among the world's highest-volume dealerships of each brand, the brothers say. It also sells Aston Martin, Land Rover and Cadillac.
While brother Rick is immersed in the fixed-operations side of the business, Peter -- the extrovert of the two -- is more comfortable on the sales side. Outside the store, he takes advantage of Florida's water sports, including surfing and spearfishing, and is active in conservation efforts.
He grew up around the dealership, filling in as a porter or wherever needed. His official start at age 25 came as the dealership's first director of its business development center.
A few years ago, the Dimmitt brothers started an in-house property and casualty insurance agency, Dimmitt Insurance, which sells auto, home and other coverage. Peter Dimmitt says the agency has boosted customer loyalty because buyers like the one-stop-shopping element of the service.