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Dunn Right

When Jim Dunn was growing up in Chicago Heights in the 1950s, he seemed to have a special gene that was driving him toward a career in the auto industry. “My parents told me that we went on a trip in our 1952 Nash American – I must have been 2 or 3 years old – and I was able to name every car we saw on the road,” Dunn says.

But he almost didn’t make it into auto sales, let alone running the world’s largest Lexus dealership in Margate. In his youth, Dunn, who has the build of a pro football player, was attracted to baseball, basketball, football and rock music… not cars. “I wanted to be a professional athlete or a professional entertainer. I also played in a rock “n” roll band,” says Dunn, who has a degree in liberal arts from Prairie State College.

To pay his bills, Dunn tried several different jobs, including a short stint selling Fords. At 22, he accepted a position as the finance and insurance manager at Yanson Chevrolet in Chicago Heights, a post that mainly involved sales. His friendly and outgoing personality was a perfect fit. “After I got into it, I loved doing sales. It’s fun and, just like sports, it’s very challenging.”

Moving to Florida

After Yanson Chevrolet, Dunn had sales manager and general manager posts at dealerships in Indianapolis, Indiana; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Joliet, Illinois; and Naples, Florida. His first time in South Florida was operating dealerships for the Zinn family. He returned in 2005 to run JM Lexus after running dealerships in Bradenton.

Becoming vice president and general manager of JM Lexus is a prestigious feat. It has been the world’s largest Lexus dealership since 1992. Last year, the dealership sold 8,300 new and 2,606 pre-owned vehicles and ranked No. 2 in the United States for sales of certified pre-owned vehicles.

JM Lexus was established in 1989; in 2007, it opened its Lexus Certified Pre-owned Superstore.

The dealership is one part of JM Family Enterprises Inc., a Deerfield Beach-based family-owned group founded by the late Jim Moran, an auto industry entrepreneur and philanthropist. It also includes Southeast Toyota Distributors LLC, the world’s largest independent distributor of Toyotas and Scions, and financial subsidiaries. Last year, the group reported revenues of $13.1 billion.

Staying No. 1

How does JM Lexus maintain its leading sales position? Dunn, who still goes to the showroom to sell cars himself, points first to his sales staff: “They’re fabulous,” he says. “They work hard and they work smart. They make all the difference.” JM Lexus currently has 448 employees (called associates), including more than 40 new car salespeople and over 20 devoted specifically to used cars.

Next, is the product: a wide-ranging line of automobiles with an international reputation for luxury, excellence and reliability. Lexus offers products ranging from the CT Hybrid, which sells for around $30,000, to the LFA Supercar, with 552 horsepower that carries a $383,000 price tag. “In 1989 [when Lexus got started], we had two sedans,” Dunn says. “Now, we have over a dozen lines of sedans and more than a dozen very popular SUVs.” 

Dunn, who jokes that people sometimes confuse him with his friend, J.R. Dunn, the South Florida jeweler, stresses that growing the business and maintaining its sales leadership require constant attention and innovation. “I know that when I go shopping, I want to feel comfortable,” he says. JM Lexus, constantly polls customers and trains sales and service staff to provide what clients want and need. 

One of Dunn’s key messages to employees is to examine and re-examine the way they do things in order to find improvements. “If it’s not broke, break it,” he quips. Being the world’s top Lexus dealer is not something he takes for granted. “When you’re No. 1, you’ve got a target on your back,” he says. “We are very competitive.” ?

 

Community Minded

Jim Dunn is proud of JM Lexus” commitment to charitable organizations and community work, including extensive volunteer work by employees.

One important program is the Youth Automotive Training Center, which was founded by Jim Moran in 1984 to educate disadvantaged youths in auto repair and life management skills.

Broward County’s Winterfest is one of Dunn’s personal community priorities. In April, he took over as chairman of the nonprofit, which produces a variety of community events and supports many charities. Among them is the Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade, which attracts about 1 million spectators along its 12-mile route and is watched by millions on television.

Dunn began volunteering his time to the organization about a decade ago, when he first attended a Winterfest black-tie ball.

 

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky

Editor-in-Chief

BIOGRAPHY

Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.