need to understand the importance of evaluating industry statistics and analyzing the financials that come out of each department daily as well as monthly.
THERE’S ALWAYS ROOM FOR GROWTH
The future for Prestige Automotive looks positive. Jackson has made a profit at every one of his stores. “But there are some small kinks in the armor that I would like to see us iron out,” he says. Although some of Prestige’s locations are not pulling in as much profit as others, overall, Jackson has been able to successfully leverage his cost expense and sustain revenue targets to keep his business afloat during tough times.
Jackson’s holding group, Jackson Automotive Management, operates the Prestige Automotive dealerships. In addition to the Ypsilanti, Michigan-based Prestige Pontiac/Buick/GMC Truck dealership — where his operating office is located — Jackson owns eight other retail sites. His five dealerships in Michigan are Prestige Chevrolet in Flushing, Prestige Pontiac in Mt. Morris, North Country Ford in Clare, Courtesy Lincoln Mercury in Lansing, and Campus Ford in Okemos. His three Jacksonville, Florida, dealerships are Saturn of the Avenues, Saturn of Orange Park, and Saturn of Regency.
To prepare for sustained growth and manage the company, Jackson sent eight team members to the National Automobile Dealers Association’s training program to assist in their development as general managers and future owners. To turbo-charge additional expense control and profitability, Jackson formed an internal “20 Group” for all Prestige locations. This is a core group of about 20 individuals who analyze each other’s operational figures and then share thoughts about their strengths and weaknesses. It’
s a self-help way for internal management to support one another.
The goal is to advance the company to an even higher level of efficiency. Prestige’s training budget will also be tripled to train staff and produce growth-generating customer satisfaction.
AN ENTREPRENEUR FROM DAY ONE
The billion-dollar dealer has come a long way since Aug. 2, 1993 — the day he purchased his first dealership with $150,000 of his life savings. Once Jackson took control of the dealership, he was able to increase sales and double profits in the first year. Jackson recalls how significant that was. “It woke a lot of people up to the fact that we were serious about being in this business,” he recalls. The success of his first dealership provided the necessary capital to secure his next one. Since then, all of Prestige Automotive’s dealerships have been financed internally from the profits of the corporation. In 1995, Jackson’s Prestige Pontiac Oldsmobile in Mt. Morris had $23.8 million in sales and made BE’s list of the top 100 black-owned car dealerships in the U.S. In 2004, Prestige ranked No. 1 on BE AUTO DEALER 100 list with $766.5 million in sales.
“I’ve been in the automotive business for 16 years, but I’ve been an entrepreneur for 24 years,” says Jackson, a Detroit native whose experience in retail sales laid the groundwork for his automotive ventures. “I owned and operated a Kastleton Cookie Company, which manufactured fresh-baked and wholesale frozen cookie dough for institutional use in