Vice president, Price Simms Family Dealerships
Nick Price might have his name on the side of the building, but the second-generation California dealer began his auto retailing career humbly — as a shuttle driver.
Over the past decade, Price has cycled through detailing, service and sales roles at the family-owned Price Simms group’s dozen stores.
That experience, he said, makes him a better leader.
“You learn not only how to do every job, but what everyone is thinking in each role,” said Price, now vice president of the Marin County, Calif.-based retailer. “That’s imperative so you can relate on a deeper level. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
The young dealer has proved to be a natural in the business.
In 2015, Price took over the group’s failing Ford Fairfield store. “It was kind of a broken store for us from a profitability standpoint,” he said. “Customer relations and employee relations just weren’t up to our standards.”
Price turned the store around in three years. The Northern California store went from a money loser to a profit generator and won its first Ford President’s Award in 2018. The store has won the award every year since.
“I’m a huge believer that happy and purposeful employees equal happy customers, which lead to financially successful dealerships,” Price said
More recently, Price expanded the group’s portfolio — helping launch Volvo-affiliate Polestar’s U.S. retail network.
Price, who opened Polestar’s first two domestic stores, said the decision to gamble on the Swedish EV startup was strategic. In Polestar’s Tesla-like online sales model, he saw the future direction of auto retailing.
“We wanted to get in that sandbox and learn how to operate in an online-first retail model,” Price said.
The Polestar franchise was a way for the dealership group to look at new digital retail models early and transfer those learnings to its other franchise stores.
While Price has taken after his dad, a self-made entrepreneur, he had different career aspirations.
A point guard on the University of San Diego basketball team, Price at one time wanted to become a college athletic director. But his experiences on and off the court now guide him in the showroom and boardroom.
“I was never the best player, but I always had a great sense of how the locker room is doing and how to pick people up who were having a bad day and find a way to make the team better,” Price said. “That’s something that I bring to our dealerships.”
— Urvaksh Karkaria