•30-something car guy on fast track•
As an auto sales chief, Jeremy Jimenez could be described as a boy wonder.
Just 33, he’s general manager of Rick Hendrick Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram and of Rick Hendrick Fiat of North Charleston.
The lofty status hasn’t been overlooked: Automotive News trade publication named Jimenez to its 40 Under 40 feature appearing in the magazine’s July 15 issue.
Automotive News highlighted 40 executives and managers who are younger than 40 years old.
Jimenez, in the profile by Larry P. Vellequette, says people are startled about his age.
“I hear it all the time, ‘I thought you were going to be 25 years older,” Jimenez told the magazine.
He is the youngest general manager in the 86-store Hendrick Automotive Group, taking over the Chrysler-brand dealership on Rivers Avenue in early 2011 and adding Fiat when it opened this winter.
Jimenez has a natural talent at running things, the article notes. Even as a new employee, he was doing a “terrific job,” said Tom Blocker, a vice president at Hendrick Automotive Group. “He was the new leader.” When the top manager’s position came available, “it was pretty obvious to me he was the logical choice to take the position to the next level,” Blocker says.
According to the Hendrick group, Jimenez hasn’t disappointed. The Chrysler dealership sold 50 new cars his first month, doubled the total the next month and in May sold 170 new cars and 90 used vehicles.
Jimenez said better Chrysler products helped draw in customers. He also cited his sales strategy, which the magazine specially highlighted.
“Instead of trying to chase that one car that makes a lot of money,” he said, “we try to sell as many cars as we can and let the process take care of the profit.”
•Float your boat•
The largest and most tricked-out “rigid inflatable boat” that a Dorchester County company builds is set to hit the water this summer.
The new Zodiac N-ZO 760, considered the boatmaker’s flagship model, will debut in North America shortly.
Z Marine North America LLC, formerly Zodiac Recreational of North America LLC, is rolling out the top-of-the-line vessel. The RIB stands 24 feet, 11 inches in length.
“This new model is stylish, seaworthy, spacious, and safe,” said Gary Durnan, Z Marine vice president of sales. “This will be a great addition to our North American line-up for our dealer network,” he said.
Vittorio Garroni, a noted Italian designer of yachts and high-end vessels, once again crafted the Zodiac inflatable’s “exclusive lines,” according to the manufacturer.
The new 760 model follows the successful runs of the N-ZO 600 and 680 models, the company notes.
Features include an “air console,” a higher console that cuts back on used floor space while increasing the walk-around room. There’s the Reverse & Sun, a broad transformable sundeck. The vessel also carries LED lights, ample aft seating and hydraulic steering.
Optional perks include a toilet, aft and bow sunbathing kit, refrigerator, saloon table, fresh water tank, shower kit and Bimini top.
For more information, visit www.zodiacmarineusa.com.
While a modest-sized auto market overall, metro Charleston can claim two of the country’s largest retailers in terms of pre-owned car sales.
That’s according to a new report from Automotive News. The magazine ranked the 100 largest dealerships for used car sales, revenues and number of dealerships.
The largest used car retailer in the nation is Richmond, Va.-based CarMax, which opened a store off Savannah Highway several years ago. CarMax reported 408,080 used car sales in 2012 totaling more than $7.8 billion in revenues at its 118 dealerships.
Meanwhile, Charlotte-based Hendrick Automotive Group placed seventh in size with 60,174 pre-owned car sales totaling nearly $1.3 billion in revenues at 86 dealerships. Hendrick Automotive moved up one spot from last year.
Hendrick oversees 11 stores in metro Charleston.
•Day only car buffs could love•
Think back to Saturday, July 13. Overall, not a bad day weather-wise in Charleston — that is except for a serious downpour all morning, making for a good time to sleep in.
Well, not for everybody. At least one automotive event took place as scheduled, if curtailed and “wet.”
Two local car clubs combined to host Car Collector Appreciation Day 9 a.m.-noon at Brittlebank Park. They even managed on the second try to pull off a planned drive around town.
Hugh Hiott, who helped organize the show and drive, gave an account of what transpired.
“With 60 (or 80) percent chance of rain, depending on the forecaster, the 4th Collector Car Appreciation Day in Charleston began with 4 cars, 5 umbrellas and 8 wet people at Brittlebank Park’s paved parking lot. It was too wet to drive on the dirt to get under the trees,” he said.
“A few called and gave their regrets and some were told to turn around and not continue because of the rain. It was at least a 110 percent chance now.”
Hiott continued, “A few of us parked at the entrance road and had decided to tell anyone ‘foolish’ enough to venture down to the park that it was just too wet because rain was seen on the weather map to be imminent for several more hours over Charleston.
“Well, when a ’54 Plymouth, a Model A coupe, a Model A Fordor and a ’36 Ford street rod splashed in, we knew that the CCAD was officially underway!” According to Hiott, “We waited under umbrellas for a while and then decided to tour Charleston, as it seemed we were ‘it.’ We had mapped a proposed route that would not take us onto flooded streets so off we paddled. However, we had to turn around on one South of Broad street because of standing water. Bad map!
“Back at Brittlebank Park, we saw some more shiny cars including another Model A Fordor and an Econoline pickup (that) had arrived,” Hiott said. “Rain does make a car shiny ... With this increase of die-hards in spite of the inclement weather we pitched a tent and practiced the age old art of (talking). Had a blast.”
Hiott said that around 11 a.m., “A few raindrops again began falling so we decided to unpitch the tent and tour Charleston again. There were more people out now, and we waved merrily to those that noticed our collector cars. After all, this was our day. A Buick Grand National, Mercury Cougar, Studebaker Avanti and a Dually had joined us on the streets.
“We floated back to Brittlebank and saw that we now had an El Camino and a lime green hemi Charger in the water. We chatted awhile and drifted out around noon,” he said.
Thanking all who took part, Hiott concluded, “Remember: If you want to attend an event, don’t let the weather stop you.”
Models from the 1930s, ’50s and ’60s are lined up July 13 at Brittlebank Park for a rainy Car Collector Appreciation Day (Provided).×
Car buffs clutch umbrellas as they try to wait out the steady rain hampering the car collector show (Provided).×
Despite efforts to cancel the event, the car collector show went off as scheduled (Provided).×
Dark clouds persisted but the rain stopped for awhile at the Car Collector Appreciation Day, held for the fourth year in Charleston (Provided).×