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Dealer Bob Rohrman: ‘Never give up’

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  1. General Motors6:21
  2. new car0:50
  3. Lafayette Indiana1:12
  4. Schaumburg Illinois1:58
  5. Tom Moore0:11
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  7. Automotive News0:30
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  9. cigar chomping1:10
  10. Customer satisfaction4:19

Fri, 7 Dec 2012|

The 'Dealer Speaks' With Bob Rohrman


Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Welcome to the latest installment of our series the dealer speaks. I'm Tom Moore back. He's employees describe him as hands on a mentor and above all a salesman. We're talking about Bob orbit. President and owner of the Bob warm and auto group. This operation is big -- to number eighteen in the latest Automotive News top 125. Dealership groups list. In 2011. Warm and sold 191635. In new retail units. In group revenue came in at more than 905. Million dollars. The company portfolio currently includes a 24 new car dealerships covering fifteen brands in two states plus. For use car superstores. In as we learned doing our recent visit to Chicago land those numbers are growing. The charge being led by warming himself. Whose first boss was a cigar chomping Ford dealer in Lafayette Indiana. In 1955. These. Obviously. You think maybe you've been so harsh I said yes sir again. Where you'll start I said right now he said OK your hired. And he was often running. In 1963. Warm and opened his first used car lot. In in 1969. He started selling -- Toyota's. Relatively unknown mark in some parts of the country. As Lafayette it and how to pronounce Tonioli Khaled. Priority after adding a steady stream of brands in his hometown including Honda. Warm and looked north to the booming town of Schaumburg Illinois. Where friend was selling 200 -- a month. And I -- who I should -- the dealer here there was at one. So warm and built it in 1984. His first store in the Chicago area. -- who himself isn't one to -- it actually my office probably is my car. That's him in the red Lexus. Likes to move franchises around like pieces on the chess board. The car business for me -- just been. A game. Woman's Honda store will soon move to the site of his nearby -- dealership. Use condoms will be sold in the key to show room in -- 140000. Square foot addition will house new Honda's next door. As for the -- distort well that's moving into the existing Honda dealership. And warm and it is moving his suburban Chicago Lexus store less than a mile down the road. Into a two story 200000. Square foot building in his business park which even has its own traffic -- I concentrated on the -- been so much that. We do well with and so we can. We can build buildings like the -- storm it doesn't hurt that warm and owns 51%. Of a construction company. In virtually his entire operation. Except new vehicle inventory is paid for all self funded. Never give up. Has been my model he could have went one store was three million bucks in the whole ice that with us stuck with -- me to three million dollar back. And I -- -- about 800000. Today. And that is just one of the many lessons he's passed along to his children and grandchildren who -- in the family business. Grandson Ryan is the GM at Schaumburg Honda. He takes presidents David teaching me how to sell cars and as like -- lose you know what do you mean by that is -- -- -- the very first day we emphasize it and you. And I just -- told me he said you got to love the customers and they'll let you back. Customer satisfaction is so important to warm -- that he established his own university. For new and existing employees. Where. He's he -- people. The car business. Not only in sales for news service. How we wanted to take care of the customer. How we won't be noble want the serious side. Son JER well and Arlington Nissan. As is always told us you know you could inspect what to expect. Not many dealers are routinely signed autographs but Orban does. After starring in countless TV ads over the years often in -- He says the goofy spots drive business. I have people tell me and the source. I just had coming in. Because really advertising. And they say. You're crazy. But I love it. New ads were suggested by employee looting Garcia. Who realized mormons advertising. Wasn't targeting a key audience. The area's growing Hispanic population. The two now star in this spot spoken in Spanish. -- I take all of biases. From employees good or bad sometimes as I was Lugo was this game is Maria Orman is also bullish on the Internet. He predicts 40% of its sales will soon come through that media that doesn't mean. When he now walks in the door how'd you hear of us. You should Washington and that's not -- fail. He had access. Contacted. By the end. And then we really can't say that there's an and -- sale. Meantime warm and is building a -- store in Wisconsin. And negotiating. For a General Motors franchise. His grandson chase who runs a Ford store -- growth is a motivate -- He's still going after everything facility got -- mentally -- wants to grow. I hope when you know -- Not only not only isn't healthy but this fun. Warm and employees 14100 people do stores throughout Indiana into Illinois. And like many dealers he is charitable. During our visit he presented the Red Cross a check for 100000. Dollars to the super storm sandy relief but. Next week we'll hear from -- Monday and asked co owner of the Monday advanced automotive family will see that.

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But that letter was a turning point. GM AC office in Milwaukee. Change their mind and decided that they would give us four plan. Approval and those very helpful force and got us started. A local bankers got us from building. Found a local. Construction company to build a Butler building 121000 square feet. So we were up to the races in September of 1982 and I will forever be appreciative of General Motors. He says Smith even came to the grand opening up his store. Today and this 67 year old birth Tron is still mindful of the opportunity GM gave him. He drove a Chevy to work at the morning we visited. And his office remains in the GM's store Britain business began. This is the office we started it and well everybody gives me a little bit challenge about that now and then because we do have a corporate offices through blacks that way. I don't want to lose track of the business and wanna be on the ground. 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He believes that how you treat that gas and get to come back the next time as far more important than how you treat them to get him. By cart today and get to our service with him today I believe that. Wholeheartedly. Their customer first mentality also was an approach the birds from chain cultivated. There GMs and now shuttered Saturn brand. And get to walk around through without looking over your career. His fellow named skip portfolio that was just a fascinating later today. Taught us that this business wasn't so much of that cars. It was about building relationships with people and went Saturn was closed. We lost 35% of our business six stores. In. Literally overnight. That culture that we developed through shattered now. We live with the everyday so today. Despite losing those stores for Hummer dealerships into Pontiac a franchise is in the aftermath of GM's 2009 bankruptcy. Birth Shaun kept his head high and still does today. I don't live in regret bill. 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If if you don't quit you keep hanging in there you're gonna prevail eventually. No wonder he respects at Tel plus CEO. Who burst from says has worked hard for the EV makers plays in the industry. Get a bang Hannity on Moscow I think he's an incredible marketer. But he isn't worried about mosques and direct sales approach shaking up the traditional franchise landscape too much. Reality is you got it at some point you've got to manufacture car. Marketed and and distributed. And sell it for more than what your expenses are. I personally believe that he's come a long way as far as teaching us about electric cars he's made our car business fun in some ways. If you think that he's taking a Mercedes efficiently that. That doesn't let that cry. I firmly believe that at some point somebody buys it and put it through the normal system. Very strong clearly not giving up unconventional brick and mortar stores. But he seems the possibility. Of shrinking structures. This this building is 80000 square feet we use every inch of it today. Are we gonna need it one way and cars don't break. And and when. You know or is it in a scenario where where maybe it's except to boldly carry an inventory of ninety days or cars did the business model election. So maybe they'll be smaller. But they'll be some more and when it comes to business one thing's for certain. You that your life. Every day and we look at opportunities to grow we have to be real careful that we have to grow the team to run the place this would bar. But there's a whole bunch of people in the boomer era that are getting tired. And would rather play golf and Tucson or Phoenix serve her time teacher or pro area. And so we look for those opportunities that we look at those opportunities here was. And birth some sense that that's a big plus for a local residents. That's because as part of its corporate philosophy. They change it really best point 5% of its annual pretax earnings in area charities. Each August customers can test strike a fleet of luxury cars. For every mile trip and it burned from donate a dollar to breast cancer research. The program well charitable. It's also good for business as folks often return to make a purchase. They might buy a modest instead of a Mercedes but there by instant. But her son doesn't fight the thought of leaving that business. I have no intention of retiring. That's kind of God's plan and my plan I love this business and wanna do but the person who work with they sent him is better at this than I ever that. And so when god takes me these people are Anchorage and and he'll do a better never than he's got a great team around him. By the way Bertram also attributes his relationships with customers and employees. To his Norwegian mother. He firmly believes she taught him how to make people feel good. Thanks for watching the dealer speaks take care.

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