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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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Frank Pena

POSITION:President, Potamkin Hyundai, Miami

At Frank Pena's dealership, Top 40 hits and Latin tunes bounce off the walls while Pena grills burgers and hot dogs for customers amid sales staffers dressed in jeans and polos.

Pena's store runs on energy, and he says that's what sets his business apart.

"The store feels great: the excitement, the energy, the music," he said. "I don't want to hear a pin drop in my showroom."

It wasn't always that way. Pena bought the store, which was on the decline, in 2006. For months, it was quiet, and he opened and closed on his own. "It was really hard for the first couple of years," he said.

Pena was born in the Dominican Republic. His family moved to New York when he was 2 years old. He grew up around a used-vehicle lot there that his father's friend owned. When he opened his Miami store, Pena's goal was to surround himself with high-energy, hardworking employees, and he set aside time to find people who fit the mold. When he took over the dealership, it was selling 50 new cars per month. Now, that number has more than quadrupled. His store was the 17th largest volume Hyundai store in the U.S. in 2014, he says. "I never thought I was going to end up at this level," Pena said. "Now, I wouldn't do anything else."

Pena was confident in his ability to sell cars, but his mentor, Barry Frieder, president of Potamkin Automotive Group, taught him how to be an effective dealer.

Now the 5-acre store is "bursting at the seams" with a typical inventory of 500 new and 100 used vehicles, Pena said. "Taking this store and making it overachieve has been my biggest accomplishment."

He is a member of the the regional and national Hyundai dealer councils and co-chairman of the South Florida Hyundai dealers ad group.

Next on Pena's list? Opening another dealership and acquiring a new franchise.



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