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:||Customer financial services director, AutoNation Chevrolet Coral Gables, Miami|
Cary Castro spends her Sundays boating with her 8-year-old daughter, Amalie. But the rest of the week, Castro works up to 70 hours at AutoNation Chevrolet Coral Gables in Miami, sacrificing family time to make her daughter's future brighter.
"I'm very happy because I'm able to give her what I never had," said Castro, the store's finance and insurance director.
Castro has come a long way since she left Cuba at age 14. At 18, she began working for a company that provided tag and title services to dealerships. They assigned her to the AutoNation store, where she began as a title clerk in 2004. She stayed in that role for almost six years, but her rise has been rapid ever since.
In 2010, after years of asking and even putting in unpaid time to shadow the dealership's F&I staffers, Castro became a finance manager and quickly excelled. Her earnings more than tripled during her first year as a finance manager, she said, and they've continued to rise ever since.
AutoNation puts Castro in the top tier of its 900-plus finance managers, crediting her for perfect scores in all F&I training and for producing profits per vehicle 20 percent higher than the store's average. In 2013, the company made Castro the store's customer financial services director -- AutoNation's term for F&I director -- overseeing five finance managers. The store's overall gross income per vehicle retailed has grown under Castro's leadership. That metric rose 20 percent through the first five months of 2015 to an average of $1,351 per vehicle, she said.
Castro attributes the gains to getting involved in deals early.
"If you get involved earlier, you'll maximize every deal," she said.
For her, that means working closely with the managers at the sales desk from the moment the sales rep arrives with the first pencil price. A finance manager can help troubleshoot financing problems and answer questions customers have regarding loan rates, she said. She even keeps her office at the sales desks, an atypical choice for finance directors.
"Because my office is there, I know every single deal, and I can work deals from the beginning so we can maximize our profit per deal," said Castro, who wants to be a general manager someday. "Unless you're out there, you don't know what's going on in the store."