Brooklyn Mitsubishi was 3 years old when Tremenio took over in 2017. He started with the company in 2012 as general manager of Queens Auto Mall, which sold only used vehicles. The Mitsubishi point was the group's first new-vehicle franchise.
The store was underperforming, said Tremenio, who blamed the dealership's culture.
"The dealership was a little neglected," he said. "The current general manager that was there was a very negative guy."
Tremenio laid down an ultimatum — either the general manager would leave, or he would. It was a difficult conversation, Tremenio recalled, as the manager had been with the company for more than 18 years.
"They let him go," Tremenio said. "They gave me the free rein to change everything."
But even then, Tremenio faced larger challenges. A major reason the dealership wasn't reaching its potential was discord between the finance and insurance managers and the sales reps. Unresolved issues mounted. If the dealership had many rules before, Tremenio said, they weren't enforced.
"There were no repercussions. It was a free-flow — people did whatever they want. And that's why there was no leadership. There was no chain of command," Tremenio said.
To get his employees rowing in the same direction, Tremenio had to run a tight ship.
He put boundaries in place during the first few months of his leadership to drive sales, including implementing new schedules, enforcing punctuality and creating a dress code — polo shirts in the summer and shirt-and-tie or other corporate wear during other seasons.
The added structure allowed special events, such as casual Fridays and pizza Saturdays, to stand out to employees.
Ten managers report to Tremenio, who shares an office with the dealer principal. He touches every deal and religiously scans CRM software to make sure employees are on track and taking diligent notes.
Overall, he said, employees are happier and more productive.
"If you create a culture where people love you, they'll do anything for you," Tremenio said. "We created a solid team."