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:||Dealer principal, Scranton Motors (Buick-GMC-Cadillac), Vernon, Conn.|
Meg Scranton arrived at her father's dealership one day in 2007 after graduating from Bentley University near Boston, ready to take over as assistant general manager of the Connecticut dealership she'd grown up in.
Nothing went as planned.
Scranton was supposed to learn the ropes from the general manager, who would break her leg two days after Scranton started and be out indefinitely. Then, the store's longtime comptroller fell ill. Scranton was thrust into both jobs -- general manager and comptroller -- in her first month.
The ominous start turned out to be a good thing, says Scranton, a finance major. "Going into it that way, I questioned everything," she says. "I wanted to read every contract and understand everything at face value."
The approach led to an eventual 35 percent cut in the store's operating expenses. Close scrutiny of the dealership management system saved tens of thousands annually, for example. A new phone system shaved a few grand.
Soon, the business would face bigger challenges. During one week in 2009, Scranton Motors went from holding five franchises to just one, GMC, after losing Pontiac, Cadillac, GMC medium-duty truck and Isuzu amid GM's bankruptcy-related cuts.
Scranton and her father, Tom Scranton, rebuilt. They fought to get the Cadillac franchise reinstated and added Buick in early 2012. The store posted record revenue and volume in 2013 and again last year, selling about 1,500 new and used vehicles. Scranton became the dealer principal in October upon her dad's retirement, becoming one of the youngest female GM dealers in the nation.
She's proud of the store's employee-development efforts -- the dealership offers training at every level, from porters on up. It's an ethos handed down by her grandfather Larry Scranton, who started the dealership in 1952.
"He would say: 'Take care of your employees first, your customers second and yourself last, and you'll always succeed,'" Scranton said.
Scranton's husband is now the dealership's comptroller. The couple have a 1-year-old daughter, Sophia, and are avid skiers, having hit the slopes in Alaska, Wyoming and New Zealand.