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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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John Mocadlo

AGE:35
POSITION:Managing partner, Barberino Nissan, Wallingford, Conn., and Barberino Mitsubishi, Waterford, Conn.

On John Mocadlo's first day on the job as a car salesman at Barberino Brothers Auto in November 1998, he was 18 years old and homeless, living in his car with three sets of clothing to his name.

He stood in the sales lot all that cold November day waiting for a chance. When the first customer came along, Mocadlo made the sale.

"I never stopped," says Mocadlo, now 35 and managing partner and part owner of Barberino Nissan in Wallingford, Conn.

"My car was parked where I could see it, with my pillow and blanket in it," he remembers. "And I kept thinking, 'I've really got to make this job work.'"

He did.

Within 10 years, at 28, he was made managing partner of the Barberino family's nearby Dodge store. But that dealership was closed in Chrysler's 2009 restructuring. In response, the family made him managing partner of the Nissan store with a plan for ownership. When he took over, the store was selling 50 new and used vehicles a month. It now sells 270 a month.

The 80-year-old family auto business is allowing Mocadlo to buy in and expand as he sees fit. In 2013, he acquired an open Mitsubishi point, now Barberino Mitsubishi. He is preparing to close on what will be a third dealership.

"The family gave me my chance in life, and I want to pay them back by making money for them," he says. But he also wants to help the dealerships' employees do what he was able to do there: Improve their positions in life.

"I tell our people, from the oil change technicians to the new salesperson, you can do this. You can improve yourself and achieve what I did. Don't think you're going to stop at one level. You can lift yourself to the next level if you want to, if you work hard."

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