Automotive News 40 Under 40

Jeremy Jimenez

AGE: 33

POSITION: General manager, Rick Hendrick Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram and Rick Hendrick Fiat of North Charleston, North Charleston, S.C.

Jeremy Jimenez

As the youngest dealership general manager in Hendrick Automotive Group, Jeremy Jimenez, 33, says people are constantly surprised by his youth.

"I hear it all the time, 'I thought you were going to be 25 years older,'" recounts Jimenez, who has held the general manager position at Rick Hendrick Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram in North Charleston, S.C., for the past 21/2 years. He is also general manager of the nearby Rick Hendrick Fiat of North Charleston.

But Jimenez's youth and relative lack of experience -- he's been in automotive retailing since 2001-- belie a comfortable leadership that made him a natural to take over the Hendrick stores when the position became available.

"When the old general manager parted, Jeremy, as young as he was and short term, had done such a terrific job. He was the new leader, and it was pretty obvious to me he was the logical choice to take the position to the next level," said Tom Blocker, a vice president at Hendrick Automotive Group.

Jimenez hasn't disappointed those who believed in him. In his first month, the Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram dealership sold 50 new cars. In his second month on the job, that number doubled. In May, the dealership sold 170 new cars and another 90 used cars, and Blocker says the credit belongs to Jimenez and the team he put together.

"If there is a problem with a deal, he jumps right into it," Blocker said. "He is all about the customer having a quality experience. And, consequently, the store does extremely well. That dealership is one of the top-volume Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge dealerships in both Carolinas."

Jimenez said better products from Chrysler helped draw in customers, but the secret to his dealership's success is putting the right people and processes in place and letting them work.

"Instead of trying to chase that one car that makes a lot of money, we try to sell as many cars as we can and let the process take care of the profit," Jimenez said. "Each month, we put realistic goals out there and we manage it every day. We keep people trained and keep pushing them to reach their goals."

-- Larry P. Vellequette