Allen Yingling, 35
Owner, New Motors
On December 2018, the holidays were anything but happy at New Motors Inc., in Erie, Pa.
One of two brothers who owned the dealership, Larry New, became ill around Thanksgiving. The business was seeping red ink and employees were nervous about their jobs.
That’s also when the store’s other owner, Gary New, parted company with the store’s then-general manager and promoted his finance and insurance manager, Allen Yingling, to run the dealership.
It was a big career move for Yingling, who had joined the company at 18 and spent five years as a salesperson before racking up another eight in F&I.
Yingling admits that his first month as general manager was “almost a blur.”
But the changes he needed to make were clear.
He met with his staff, department by department, and shared his vision for the dealership: “You’re going to make the most money you’ve ever made in your life, but you’re going to work harder than you’ve ever worked in your life.”
He also made sure they knew their contributions were valued and that their buy-in was vital.
Within the first month he replaced the ad agency with one proficient in digital advertising.
And when he noticed that 86 vehicles posted on the dealership’s website were accompanied by stock photos, one night after the dealership closed, he and “a bunch of guys” on his staff washed and took photos of every one of those vehicles and added those new photos to the various listings all within 24 hours.
He more aggressively pursued and purchased consumers’ vehicles, whether they bought a vehicle from him or not.
He knew he had hit pay dirt in March 2019, when the dealership sold a record 280 new and used vehicles. “We’d never exceeded 220 [new and used] cars in a month,” he said. The dealership was profitable in less than 18 months
Sadly, Larry New died in May 2019. But on a positive note, later that year, Yingling got another big break: Gary New made him a partner in the dealership. They closed the deal on Dec. 31, 2019.
Just as Yingling predicted, New Motors employees made a lot more money in 2019. One employee proudly told Yingling about being financially secure enough to make double mortgage payments on his home. Another boasted that he had more money in is savings account than he’d ever had.
“That’s the cool thing about being the owner, being the general manager, being the boss, is watching people get married, have kids, buy homes,” Yingling says. “I feel like I’m contributing in some way.”
— Arlena Sawyers