Ricart: Emphasis on dealership culture
Dealership culture is the backbone of auto retailing in the eyes of the likely 2020 chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association, Ohio dealer Rhett Ricart.
Ricart, 61, CEO of Ricart Automotive Group near Columbus, was elected last week as NADA’s next vice chairman, putting him in line to become chairman in 2020.
His dealership group includes Ford, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Nissan franchises.
Texas dealer Charlie Gilchrist, 62, was elected 2019 chairman. As current vice chairman, Gilchrist’s ascension was expected. The 2019 terms begin in late January at the NADA Show 2019 in San Francisco.
Ricart’s move up marks a departure from the path to the top NADA job typical in recent years.
He leads NADA’s regulatory affairs committee, while most recent vice chairmen had headed its industry relations committee. Ricart is also on the industry relations committee, which focuses on dealer-automaker ties.
Ricart’s father, Paul Ricart, founded Ricart Ford in 1955, and Rhett Ricart and his brother, Fred, took over ownership in 1982.
Today, the group employs more than 560 people and sells more than 16,000 new and used vehicles a year.
Rhett Ricart told Automotive News for a September story how the group made it through the Great Recession by training, reducing expenses and establishing a culture to “take good care of your people.”
Gilchrist, who will take over as chairman from Michigan dealer Wes Lutz, is president of SouthWest Ford in Weatherford, Texas, and Gilchrist Automotive, which includes Chevrolet, Buick-GMC, Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram, Ford, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Volkswagen franchises in the Dallas-Fort Worth market.
Delaware dealer Bill Willis was re-elected secretary and Michigan dealer Bob Shuman was re-elected treasurer.
Alexa St. John contributed to this report.