By JIM PARKER

The Post and Courier

This observation may date back years, but the results are timeless, according one of the Charleston area’s leading car dealers.

“The old adage I tell employees (is) I take care of you, you take care of the clients,” said Tommy Baker, owner and president of Baker Motor Co. “The most critical thing is we have a happy employee.”

Apparently, Baker is practicing what he preaches, according to a leading automotive trade publication.

Automotive News named Baker Motor among its 100 “Best Dealerships To Work For” in the U.S. and Canada. The dealership at 1511 Savannah Highway is the only one in South Carolina to crack the list for 2013.

“For the second year, Automotive News is proud to identify dealerships that are excelling in workplace satisfaction, talent retention and fair treatment of their employees,” said Jason Stein, publisher.

“The recognition begins with this list of the top 100 places to work – a summary that honors new-car dealerships in the United States and Canada that have excelled in creating a high-quality work environment,” he said.

The rankings of the top 100 dealerships will be revealed at a ceremony Oct. 17 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago. Automotive News also will honor the dealerships on the list. Then Oct. 21, the magazine will publish a special section that lists the top 100 dealerships. “Some of the dealerships will be profiled in depth, with a look at some of the practices and policies that helped make them great places to work,” Stein said.

Dealerships stem from 26 states in the U.S. and Ontario in Canada. New York led in numbers with 13 dealerships, followed by Texas, 12 and California, 8.

Baker Motor Co. is comprised of authorized Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Infiniti, Land Rover, smart, Jaguar, Maserati and Sprinter sales and service providers.

According to Baker Motor, its 150 or so employees earlier this year filled out an “extensive survey on employee benefits and practices.” Next, Best Companies Group reviewed the surveys from the Charleston dealership and dozens more nationwide and developed the rankings.

“We so appreciate our incredible employees,” Baker said. “Providing our team with an ongoing enjoyable and beneficial work environment is what we strive for every day,” he said.

The company owner cited three of the dealership’s innovative programs:

• Baker Fit Challenge, a wellness program designed to promote and engage employees in healthy living practices.

• Quarterly employee recognition luncheons, in which top performers are selected every three months and are feted at their favorite restaurants.

• Employee family scholarship fund, awarded to employees and family members to assist them with their college studies.

“We do our very best to reward our team and give them every reason to stay on board long term,” Baker said. “Their satisfaction and motivation to serve our customers in an exceptional way means everything to us.”

To view the online story of the 2013 top dealership list from Automotive News, visit www.autonews.com.

The Best Dealerships honor is not the only award that Baker Motor Co. took home this year. The company’s flagship dealership, Mercedes-Benz, earned the carmaker’s prestigious “Best of the Best” award for the seventh time in 10 years. Mercedes-Benz USA named it the No.1 dealership in the country in 2007.

Baker Motor Co. is celebrating 25 years in business this year. Along with Baker Motor Co., the stable of dealerships include Baker Buick GMC Cadillac in Charleston and Baker Motor Co. of Mount Pleasant offering top notch pre-owned vehicles.

For more information on Baker Motor, visit www.bakermotorcompany.com or call (843) 852-4000.

Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or jparker@postandcourier.com.