From car salesman to mega-dealer: Cuban-born Mario Murgado’s journey to unparalleled success

On today’s Executive Profile, we visited Mario Murgado, President and CEO of Murgado Automotive Group, at his brand new, state-of-the-art Cadillac dealership in Miami, Florida. Like many Cuban immigrants seeking political refuge in the 1960s, Mario came to the United States alone just five days before his fourth birthday. In 1981, he entered Miami’s Braman Imports and landed a job selling new Hondas. Over the next 12 years, he became president and managing partner at Braman Imports and Palm Beach Imports. And in 2001, he purchased ailing Honda and Pontiac GMC dealerships in downtown Miami and turned them into top national performers. The rest, as they say, is history. 

Humble Beginnings

Ten years ago, Fitzpatrick met Mario when he had four Miami-based franchise dealerships. Today, Murgado Automotive Group includes 24 stores across three states, but its impact exceeds the numbers. With his unwavering commitment to the auto industry, Mario has built a successful business empire and created a positive and engaging environment for his team. In addition to building a stellar dealership culture, Mario believes strongly in giving back to the community. He has led numerous charitable initiatives that meaningfully impact the communities he serves.

It’s imperative to note that Murgado began his dealership journey through his love and passion for cars, the business, and Cadillacs. Hence why his Ocean Cadillac store is also a museum. Murgado says, “I wanted to bring back the history and heritage of the Cadillac along with the Americano and others.” Therefore, Murgado’s dealership creates a space for a museum and customers to relax. The dealership displays vehicles from before World War II and after, highlighting the history of Cadillac and the evolution of muscle cars. Furthermore, the display of vehicles emphasizes that in 1945, GM owned 50% of the market, which was the first time women were present. Men had money, so during the roaring 1950s, the evolution of Americans’ might and power to rebuild allowed GM to generate one out of every two vehicles sold.

Growth of Murgado Automotive Group

When Murgado bought his first dealership, Brickell Honda, in 2001, the numbers would have displayed that it was a dead store back then. Murgado notes, “I bought it directly east of the Barman Honda store where I worked. We were selling 2% of what they were selling then; we sold 16 Hondas and six Pontiacs’ and GMCs. But today, I am blessed to have a group of leaders that sell 9,000 vehicles a year.

“Persistence removes resistance.” - Mario Murgado

Additionally, Murgado says, “I had to chase my Ocean store from 2002, I would speak to the general manager once a month, and 12 years later, I acquired the building. Originally the plan was to relocate it by the water, but due to roadblocks, we are now located on I-95 where approximately 240,000 people drive past it daily.” He continues, “We are a walking, talking billboard for our community.” Today, the dealership’s museum and showroom are areas for clients who appreciate doing business with them, enjoy feeling safe with them, enjoy being in a clean environment, and enjoy being in a community that feels like a family. “I want them to feel comfortable, most importantly,” Murgado adds.

Furthermore, Murgado explains that he currently works with five generations. He has five different directions for doing business and five different requirements for each. Murgado must mirror what his customers do so his staff can reflect the market. He emphasizes that his success is measured based on his employees. He is flexible and pays attention to adjusting accordingly, which he urges the industry to evolve with the current changes.

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Jaelyn Campbell
Jaelyn Campbell
Jaelyn Campbell is a staff writer/reporter for CBT News. She is a recent honors cum laude graduate with a BFA in Mass Media from Valdosta State University. Jaelyn is an enthusiastic creator with more than four years of experience in corporate communications, editing, broadcasting, and writing. Her articles in The Spectator, her hometown newspaper, changed how people perceive virtual reality. She connects her readers to the facts while providing them a voice to understand the challenges of being an entrepreneur in the digital world.

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