League of extraordinary Lexus stores Hendrick outlet in Charleston wins new award

David Yarborough (left), general manager of Hendrick Lexus Charleston; and automotive group owner Rick Hendrick give the ‘We’re No. 1’ sign at a June 22 luncheon at the Savannah Highway dealership celebrating its League of Elite award.

Hendrick Lexus of Charleston is accustom to taking home annual honors from the luxury vehicle manufacturer, but recently claimed a brand new top-tier title.

The dealership, which opened in the Lowcountry in the early 1990s, won its 19th Elite of Lexus award this year. To spotlight leading dealers, in 2015 the carmaker unveiled an exclusive new title for dealerships making the Elite of Lexus cutoff year after year. The first League of Elite award established a tough standard, dividing dealerships into groups based on new car sales volume and squaring them off with peers.

Hendrick Lexus Charleston earned the honor in the initial year, one of just 10 winners among 50 in its sales group. The dealership marked the occasion on June 22, with a special get-together. In an unprecedented move, the auto store closed from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. for a luncheon to celebrate the latest Elite of Lexus plaque, as well as the first League of Elite trophy. Rick Hendrick, noted NASCAR team owner and head of the dealership’s parent Hendrick Automotive Group, attended the midday celebration. It was an honor “that he took time out of his hectic schedule with his 100-plus dealerships, his Motorsports team and racing sponsors to enjoy food and fellowship with his Hendrick Lexus Charleston team members,” said Heather Hill, guest services manager.

“He even took some time at the end of his visit to sign some of the associates’ hats and take photos,” she said.

The Elite of Lexus award recognizes Lexus dealers nationwide that excel in sales, service and overall ownership support, according to Hendrick Lexus Charleston. The League of Elite monicker befits the leading 60 dealers in the U.S.; the Charleston outlet wound up in the top 20 percent of its sales group.

“(Earning the League of Elite title) is quite a challenge and it takes a lot of dedication and focus on serving guests every day at every touch point,” Hill said.

The local dealership also boasted three Hendrick “Elite” Department Award winners. According to Hendrick Lexus Charleston, departments must achieve the Hendrick Automotive Performance plan and meet or exceed their dealership’s Customer Satisfaction Index goals to be considered elite.

For 2015, the Charleston dealership’s three elite groups included the following teams:

• New Car department. It ended the year at 113 percent of the dealership’s Lexus objective, hit monthly goals every month and set new car records each month. Moreover, the new car division posted the highest year-over-year sales increase in the nation at 56.9 percent. The department was the No. 1 Lexus dealer by volume in South Carolina.

• Service department. The division tallied a record year servicing 21,924 cars and finishing within the top 10 across the country in Service Elite Customer Satisfaction Index scores. The department ranked ninth.

• Parts department. The group mirrored the service department in cars worked on and customer satisfaction scores.

Hendrick Automotive Group, which operates a host of dealerships and sells 12 new-car brands in the Charleston market, is one of the largest automotive retail organizations in the U.S. Headquartered in Charlotte, the company employs more than 9,000 people in dealerships, collision centers and accessories distributor installers in 13 states.

Visit www.HendrickAuto.com or www.hendricklexuscharleston.com.

Reach Jim Parker at 843-927-5542 or jparker@postandcourier.com.