Wheeling and dealing Featured

8:01pm EDT June 30, 2011
Wheeling and dealing

When he was in high school, Rick Case already had a sense of his calling. He bought an old fixer-upper car, renovated it, and then sold it right out of his parent’s front yard. While Case may have only been 15 years old when he sold his first car, he already possessed the vision and passion that would drive him throughout his career in the automotive industry.

As owner of Rick Case Automotive Group, Case has leveraged his ability to think in new and innovative ways to transform his industry and create lucrative business opportunities where none had existed. From the time he opened his first used car dealership in Akron, Ohio, he had the vision to see what consumers would want in the future — import cars — and found a way to bring it to them.

To popularize import cars in the U.S. market, Case’s No. 1 goal was to gain the attention of Honda. As president and CEO of Rick Case Automotive Group, Case accomplished this by starting small and planning big. After launching the largest Honda motorcycle business in the U.S., it didn’t take long for Japanese automakers to see that Case was the real deal with his innovative approaches to marketing and selling. More and more customers were drawn in by his passion for import cars. Case soon convinced Toyota to let him open a dealership, and before long, he’d landed his dream of getting his first Honda auto franchise.

Though in the 1960s in 1970s there weren’t many Americans buying import cars, Case’s vision combined with his enthusiasm for his product helped his risks pay off. Next year, Rick Case Automotive Group will celebrate its 50th anniversary as a U.S. automotive retailer as the 31st largest dealer group in the U.S. Currently, Case and his wife Rita operate 16 Acura, Hyundai, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Honda, Smart and Kia dealerships in Florida, Georgia and Ohio.

How to reach: Rick Case Automotive Group, www.rickcase.com