Lexus of Charleston among 100 best dealerships to work for, based on trade magazine’s survey

Lexus of Charleston, located on Savannah Highway, is part of the Hendrick Automotive Group (Leroy Burnell/postandcourier.com).

By JIM PARKER

The Post and Courier

To paraphrase a familiar saying, a happy workplace is a healthy one. Lexus of Charleston, then, must be in mighty fine shape.

The Charleston area’s sole new-model Lexus store ranked in the top 100 in an Automotive News-sponsored nationwide study of the “Best Dealerships to Work For.”

Lexus of Charleston was one of three South Carolina outlets to crack the top 100 list and the only dealership in the Lowcountry. It was also one of six Lexus stores to make the cut.

Automotive News, a much-read publication in car circles, partnered with Best Companies Group to pinpoint locales in the U.S. and Canada that have excelled at creating quality workplaces for employees, according to Lexus of Charleston.

The dealership at 2424 Savannah Highway has a crew of 73 sales, service, parts and administrative staff. Lexus of Charleston opened for business in February 1992 and relocated from North Charleston to a brand new West Ashley showroom and service outlet six years ago.

The Best Companies Group program measured workplace satisfaction through a confidential survey of employers and workers.

“We are all very excited about this national honor of being one of Automotive News “Best Dealerships to Work For” in 2012,” said David Yarborough, vice president and general manager of Lexus of Charleston.

With hundreds of the luxury dealerships under the Toyota Motor Corp. umbrella, the Charleston area dealership was one of a very few to achieve the high ranking.

The distinction puts an exclamation point on a year where the outfit has garnered top awards such as the Elite of Lexus honor for the 16th year in a row and the Hendrick Champions award — one of only two dealerships to take home the prize in the first year of Hendrick ownership. Yarborough said.

“I think this speaks very highly to the culture we have here at Lexus of Charleston and the emphasis we place on our employee’s satisfaction,” he said. It’s not just making the staff happy: Yarborough said that employee satisfaction “leads to exceptional customer satisfaction.”

Automotive News published the list of the 2012 Best Dealerships To Work For in its July 9 issue. The top dealerships will be ranked and revealed at the Best Dealerships To Work For program and gala awards dinner Oct. 17 at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago. They also will be profiled in an Automotive News special section Oct. 22.

Lead sponsors of the gala and the special section are AutoTrader.com, Manheim and vAuto.For more information about the Best Dealerships To Work For rankings, visit www.autonews.com/bestdealerships.

Yarborough said that the dealership has a passion to provide a world-class ownership experience, and its employees embody what it means to be a part of the Lexus family.For more on the dealership, call 843-852-0100 or visit www.lexusofcharleston.com.

Here’s some tidbits from the Automotive News “Best Dealerships to Work for” survey:

• Number of Dealerships: 100.

• Outlets in South Carolina: 3, Lexus of Charleston in Charleston; Hilton Head Automotive in Bluffton; Jim Hudson Toyota-Scion in Irmo.

• Lexus stores: 6, Lexus of Charleston; Larry H. Miller Lexus, Murray, Utah; Meade Lexus of Lakeside, Utica, Mich.; DARCARS Lexus of Silver Spring, Md.; Lexus of Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, Fla.; and Longo Lexus, El Monte, Calif.

• Number of states with top dealerships to work for: 32.

• State with most top 100 outlets: Texas (15).

•Brands represented: 28 (Acura, Audi, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, GMC, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jaguar, Jeep, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercedes, Mini, Nissan, Porsche, Ram, Scion, Subaru, Toyota, Volkswagen, Volvo).

• Carmakers with most top dealerships: Honda, Ford, Toyota, Chevrolet.

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