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Cerritos Auto Square Dealer Dave Conant Nominated for Dealer of the Year

 

 

dave conant award cerritos

Dave Conant (right, holding City Council proclamation) with the Cerritos City Council in 2012. Conant was awarded the business spotlight award for their philanthropic efforts in the community.

 

STAFF REPORT • October 28, 2020

(New York, NY, October 28, 2020) – The nomination of David Conant, president of Norm Reeves Honda Superstore in Cerritos, California, for the 2021 TIME Dealer of the Year award was announced today by TIME. 

Conant is one of a select group of 40 dealer nominees from across the country who will be honored at the 104th annual National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Show being held virtually February, 9-11, 2021. The announcement of this year’s annual award was made by Viktoria Degtar, Global Chief Revenue Officer, TIME, and Doug Timmerman, president of Auto Finance for Ally Financial.

The TIME Dealer of the Year award is one of the automobile industry’s most prestigious and highly coveted honors. Recipients are among the nation’s most successful auto dealers who also demonstrate a long-standing commitment to community service. Conant, 68, was chosen to represent the California New Car Dealers Association in the national competition – one of only 41 auto dealers nominated for the 52nd annual award from more than 16,000 nationwide. 

“By treating other people well, I’ve had the support of a wonderful group of employees and business associates over the years,” nominee Conant said. “That has made all the difference and has created all the successes that we’ve enjoyed.”

A 1970 graduate of Ripon High School in Ripon, Wisconsin, Conant moved to California right after high school and landed a job as a technician trainee at a Chevrolet dealership in Van Nuys.

“I grew up around mini-bikes and motorcycles as a kid and always had an enthusiasm for cars,” he said. In 1983, he was offered a trial sales position at Norm Reeves Honda in Cerritos, an opportunity that would change the trajectory of his career.

“I have since worked most every job in a dealership and eventually, I worked my way into a buy-in, buy-out opportunity at the Honda store in Cerritos,” he said. “Since becoming part of that dealership, we’ve made it the number-one Honda dealership in the world – a title which we’ve held 26 times in the last 28 years. Along with that success, we’ve added many additional dealerships to the group.”

Today, the Conant Auto Retail Group (CAR Group) encompasses 13 stores in California and Florida, representing brands Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Lincoln, Toyota and Volkswagen.

“A lot of hard work, but more importantly, working well with other people and creating opportunities for everyone around me, has led to our remarkable growth,” he said.

Conant’s passion for the retail automotive business has driven him to advocate for the industry by serving on the boards of numerous associations, including the American International Automobile Dealers Association, California New Car Dealers Association, SoCal Honda Dealers Association and Honda National Dealer Advisory Board.

“Although my dealerships have typically been high-volume metro stores, I have always tried to be the voice of the smaller dealer – to represent the interests of every dealer member, not just the big guys,” Conant said. “Promoting this thought process has often influenced the decisions of other board members. I know that others have come to see me as a man of integrity and consistency, and I am confident that I have added value to every board I have served upon.”

In the area of philanthropy, Conant and his wife, Cassie, have worked to further the cause of education in his community. “We brought parents together 25 years ago to form education foundations within our public-school system, and we have served on those boards,” he said. “Over the years, the funds we donated and raised allowed the schools to hire teacher’s assistants in the elementary schools, as well as support science programs, computer labs, wood shop, libraries, field trips and provide college scholarships for those in need.”

His dealerships also contribute to the betterment of their respective communities. Since 1995, employees may elect to give up to $5 per pay period, which is matched by the individual dealership, to an employee-controlled charity fund. Employees vote on the groups they want to support, which have included American Red Cross Long Beach Chapter; ASPCA; Boys & Girls Clubs of Long Beach; Make-A-Wish; Special Olympics Southern California; Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House; among others.

“To date, disbursements from our employee charity fund exceed $2 million,” Conant said. “By bringing our people together, the impact of their charitable giving has been felt by many local causes and the satisfaction and pride our employees have enjoyed is priceless. Helping my team find this joy has been the most rewarding part of my career.”

Dealers are nominated by the executives of state and metro dealer associations around the country. The award is sponsored by TIME in association with Ally Financial, and in cooperation with NADA. A panel of faculty members from the Tauber Institute for Global Operations at the University of Michigan will select one finalist from each of the four NADA regions and one national Dealer of the Year. Three finalists will receive $5,000 for their favorite charities and the winner will receive $10,000 to give to charity.

In its tenth year as exclusive sponsor, Ally will also recognize dealer nominees and their community efforts by contributing $1,000 to each nominee’s 501(c)3 charity of choice. Nominees will be recognized on AllyDealerHeroes.com, which highlights the philanthropic contributions and achievements of TIME Dealer of the Year nominees.

“The TIME Dealer of the Year award celebrates the country’s top dealers who understand that their businesses thrive when they give back and help their communities grow,” Timmerman said. “In short, the award recognizes dealers who do it right in their businesses and in their communities.”

Conant was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Brian Maas, president of the California New Car Dealers Association. He and his wife, Cassie, have four children.

 

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