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How TIME’s Dealer of the Year Rick DeSilva Jr. showed strong leadership during turbulent year

For 10 years TIME in partnership with Ally has recognized new car dealers across the country for their performance and community service. This year, second-generation dealer, Rick DeSilva Jr. was named TIME’s Dealer of the Year. After learning about Rick’s incredible commitment to service, to not only customers but also the community, it’s easy to see why he was chosen. 

“I think it’s so important to step up when and where you’re needed,” says DeSilva Jr. As car dealers, you have plenty of opportunities to do that. In a lot of cases, car dealerships are still the last, small family-owned businesses in a community. To maintain family participation in the community and that personal connection, it’s extremely important. DeSilva Jr. says people still need access to making sure their cars are safe.

Related: Fostering community engagement with initiatives in safe driving basics

For a long time, DeSilva Jr. says they were ready for modern retailing. He says they didn’t have a traditional business development. Their salespeople took customers through the entire process, from beginning to end. While they were close, they weren’t able to deliver vehicles but were able to sell and take deposits for cars. When they opened back up, it was just a matter of scheduling.

Liberty Subaru in Emerson, N.J.

DeSilva Jr. believes the biggest hold-up of EV adoption aside from the price is the range anxiety. People are just not comfortable with it, yet. He says we don’t have the infrastructure to support it. He does believe once the infrastructure catches up, it will be a little easier and prices will come down.

They’ve had supply and demand issues in the past but DeSilva Jr. says, this chip shortage is on a different level. He says it’s interesting to watch how each manufacturer has handled it, so differently. He says their allocations have been up and down but Subaru has done a phenomenal job of letting them know where they stand and what to expect going forward. He also says Genesis has an interesting opportunity to continue its production plan and build its market share.

DeSilva Jr. says they don’t do what they do for the recognition. You do it because it’s the right thing to do. For the balance of the year, he says, they’re going to be in it for the long haul. They always figure out a way to make it happen and he’s sure they’ll come out on the other end okay.

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For over 10 years, CBT News has been informing and helping automotive retail professionals grow their businesses and thrive in their careers through an awarding-winning, on-demand streaming platform. With exclusive interviews featuring the biggest names in the industry, daily newscasts, up-to-date market data, and exclusive articles covering the latest trends, CBT News is your #1 source for auto industry news and content.

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