Running a lean operation is business as usual at Prestige Automotive Group in Detroit, said CEO Gregory Jackson. That means keeping a tight rein on expenses and not hiring "excess" people, he said. Being "cash liquid" is part of that equation, too.
It is a business philosophy that served him well over the years, especially when the auto industry tanked a decade ago.
New-vehicle sales at Jackson's stores "flattened, but we just rolled along," he said.
But Jackson's business strategy hadn't anticipated the loss of his three Saturn dealerships in Jacksonville, Fla., and one Pontiac dealership near Ann Arbor, Mich., when General Motors discontinued those brands as part of its bankruptcy reorganization. A Chevrolet store he owned in the Ann Arbor area also was axed by GM as the automaker fought for survival.
"I've never had a lot of fat," said Jackson. His group currently operates Mercedes-Benz of St. Clair Shores and Prestige Cadillac, both in suburban Detroit, and Courtesy Ford in Okemos, Mich.