• Highly ranked, and a nice place too •

After learning this summer it made the top 100 car stores’ list, Lexus of Charleston last month found out the precise ranking: No. 61.

The Hendrick Automotive Group outlet on Savannah Highway was listed in Best Dealerships to Work For in 2012, compiled by Automotive News trade magazine and Best Companies Group.

“The Lexus of Charleston team members and I are honored to accept this award,” said David B. Yarborough, Lexus of Charleston vice president and general manager. The dealership has 75 employees and offers 120 new Lexus models and more than 70 pre-owned vehicles at its 50,000-square foot showroom and five-acre campus at 2424 Savannah Highway.

“We believe that happy and satisfied employees create happy and satisfied customers, who in turn become advocates for our business,” he said.

Automotive News profiled each of the top 100 in its Oct. 22 issue.

In the lead of the Lexus of Charleston article, staffer Nick Bunkley wrote, “Only nice people need apply to work at Lexus of Charleston.”

The piece quoted Yarborough touting the dealership’s “familylike team.

“We try to hire talented, nice people, and we’ll teach them the processes and procedures and any product knowledge they need,” he said. “If you’re not a nice person to begin with, you’re not going to last very long.”

Yarborough credited his employees for customer retention. “They feel like they know us,” he told Automotive News.

The article noted how the dealership has won the Elite of Lexus award for 16 straight years, all with Yarborough at the helm. The general manager hands out a Most Valuable Player award each year. And monthly, he takes all the employees celebrating a birthday out to lunch.

“It’s a good opportunity to take them and sit down and break a little bread with them and let them get to know each other,” Yarborough said in the article. “Sometimes they’ll tell you something at lunch that they wouldn’t tell you otherwise.”For more, visit www.autonews.com/bestdealerships.

• Not just idol talk: Dealership to help Toys for Tots •

Summerville Ford is gearing up for a big marketing event Thursday that’s part charitable fundraiser, part adventure and part contest.

The outlet on Dorchester Road is presenting “Go Further with Ford Night.” The free fundraising event Nov. 15 benefits Toys for Tots. At the same time, the show will be engaging consumers in the final “Random Acts of Fusion” adventure and offering them a chance to see the all-new 2013 Ford Fusion, according to the dealership.

Ford describes the Random Acts of Fusion as a transmedia marketing program to introduce the Fusion “by playing out a story arc through multimedia platforms.”

As part of the final act, consumers at Summerville Ford can test their judging skills with American Idol and compete to win a “VIP experience” during the show’s 12th season.

“We all want to be part of something bigger, and Go Further with Ford Night is our way of offering consumers the chance to give back to our community, have a lot of fun, enjoy the final random act — which will test their judging skills to win a unique VIP American Idol experience — and meet the all-new Ford Fusion in person,” said Vidonne Colston, assistant to the general manager.

For each person who attends the event, Summerville Ford will donate $10 to Toys for Tots up to a total of $500.

Consumers 18 years and older who are interested in participating in Go Further with Ford Night may preregister at www.RandomActsofFusion.com and be entered for a chance to win tickets to a live taping of American Idol.

For more, contact Colston at 843-873-3550 or vidonne@summervillefordmerc.com.

• Car care store’s sidelight moving along •

Less than a year from starting operations, the owner of a West Ashley-based Meineke Car Care Center has expanded into U-Haul rentals.

Gino Pappaterra started operating the business, known as Meineke Car Care Center 2078, at 1648 Savannah Highway in January.

He said families needing top-notch services and supplies for moving household furnishings will have a convenient place to pick them up. The equipment includes moving vans; open and closed trailers; furniture pads; appliance, furniture and tow dollies; and auto transports. The store also will sell heavy-duty boxes, made of up to 90 percent recycled content.

“U-Haul rentals are an excellent tool for building traffic to my shop,” Pappaterra said.

According to Steve Redmond, president of U-Haul Co. of Coastal South Carolina, “Gino is a great example of the type of successful business relationship U-Haul has established in order to build and maintain a strong network of more than 15,000 independent dealers across North America.”

Business hours are 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday. For more information, call 843-628-3427.