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.
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|POSITION:||Fixed operations director, Larson Automotive Group, Tacoma, Wash.|
Ask Michael Mangapit about his proudest achievement, and he points to his people, not his numbers.
As fixed operations director of Larson Automotive Group, Mangapit oversees the service and parts operations of Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac, Porsche and Nissan franchises from the group's 16 franchises spread across nine rooftops, including Audi Tacoma, where he joined the group four years ago as a service manager. These days, he's watching the team he put in place reach new milestones at that dealership, which Mangapit says include being on pace to boost fixed-operations revenue by $1.2 million from last year.
"I've been able to promote several of my staff to management positions, and all of them are thriving and having success," Mangapit says. "Deep down, I feel good because these are people I picked."
It's a change for Audi Tacoma, which had an underperforming service department with customer service scores on the bottom rung of Audi dealerships in the greater Seattle market when Mangapit joined in 2011, he says.
Moving to a new facility increased service bays from six to 20. Mangapit hired staff, prioritizing "attitude over aptitude."
He turned down some candidates with solid resumes in favor of personalities who would mesh better with the customer-focused culture he wanted to build in the service bay, even if they were inexperienced.
He overhauled the way service jobs are dispatched, balancing workloads among four teams of three technicians, with the most-skilled teams taking extra jobs to improve efficiency and quality, Mangapit says.
He empowered his service managers to go the extra mile when dealing with customers, keeping track of customer birthdays, hobbies and even names of family dogs.
The effort paid off quickly. Audi Tacoma posted the second-biggest jump in customer satisfaction scores for Audi dealerships of its size in 2012, Mangapit says, and beat the ratings of the two other Audi dealerships in greater Seattle that same year.
In May 2014, Audi Tacoma surpassed service department sales of $500,000 in a single month for the first time, he said.