Texas Border Business
By Roberto Hugo Gonzalez
Only a select few dealerships in the nation are recognized with this award. Those who deal with cars, trucks, and SUVs need to do a lot to get into this supreme circle of winners.
That’s why Bob and Janet of Fiesta Chevrolet in Edinburg were so excited when they learned General Motors had recognized Robert C. Vackar as the Chevrolet Dealer of the Year 2020.
This award is only given to giants in the nation’s auto industry. Only those dealerships that excel in all aspects of this industry, including sales, service, and above all, customer experience, are deserving of this recognition. This is an award that only one percent of more than 3,200 dealers in the nation are considered for and win with a capital W.
Janet said that she always knew that Bob was the one that would help grow the dealer group to its current standing, but “he surpassed [her] expectations in every way”. She is so proud of him!
Bob is one of the most outstanding businessmen in South Texas and a renowned philanthropist. He knows, recognizes, and exercises the golden rule of life, giving back to his community of the Rio Grande Valley and beyond; that is why he and his wife Janet, and their family feel they are blessed.
He leads Bert Ogden Auto Group, comprised of multiple dealerships in the Rio Grande Valley. As the auto conglomerate leader, Bob has already won numerous awards that are only given by those who recognize and value that the customer is the most important element in the mixture. By the way, Bob was honored not only as Dealer of the Year, but also won the Dealer Elite Award and Mark of Excellence.
According to Janet, her father, Bert Ogden, the Auto Group founder, had a simple way of doing business, and that was the “customer comes in, and we make sure they keep coming back.” The “comes in” and the “make sure they keep coming back” are part of a formula that equals customer satisfaction. If both are accomplished, that’s repeat business from happy customers. Understanding that idea well and coupled with Bob’s vision and experience has culminated in national recognition.
You must give credit where credit is deserved. If you compare these days to the ’60s, this is a different game. Today, there are hundreds of other Chevrolet stores in the market, which means more competition. Also, the technology offers instant data that follows customer satisfaction accurately, and if you add COVID-19 as the uninvited ingredient, it is much harder to win.
Recognizing the dangers of the disease, Bob immediately instructed management to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention protocols (CDC). He implemented the protocols of wearing a mask, recommended hand washing and staying 6 feet apart. He also became an advocate by using media airtime, newspaper space, and social media to promote safety.
It was clear that Bob was putting the safety of his employees and customers first. The pandemic has damaged everyone here and in the world. Many businesses have closed business, and people lost their jobs. Bob made sure that in 2020 no layoffs were implemented, also that each one of his employees had a bonus to celebrate Christmas with their families.
Important protocols were put in place to protect staff and customers. Still, he went beyond by also implementing the unique curbside service and auto-delivery advertised all over the media outlets the company uses to convey their messages.
One of Bob’s responsibilities as the company leader was selecting a team that understands the mission. At Fiesta Chevrolet, 200 of his best employees run the dealership, with Billy Kelley heading the team as general manager. The good news is that Fiesta Chevrolet consistently sells more vehicles than big dealers in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio. They are what makes a great team.
Fiesta Chevrolet is a dealership that stocks a large vehicle inventory because Bob is always ahead of the game. The auto shortages in the nation caused by COVID-19 have not been a match for Bob’s experience. His relationship with the manufacturer played a big part in his success.
By monitoring the national and world markets, he finds out first-hand any concerns for the future in his industry. Just last year, Bob’s Fiesta Chevrolet won “The Mark of Excellence” in the middle of the pandemic. That’s why he is a phenomenal businessman.
Billy told Texas Border Business that Bob is a great mentor to him and a great person. “Also, Natasha del Barrio, the company’s CEO, played a huge part during the pandemic. She was so spot on with her policies, procedures, and safety precautions that went beyond what any of us at the time had thought of.” He pointed out that it provided a great work environment and a comfortable place for customers to come in during the pandemic.
“Our staff has done a great job. We’ve got a great team, and we depend on each other. It’s a family environment where we take care of one another. For us, what is important is the people, that’s first,” Billy stated.
Natasha said that Bob’s national award is a much-deserved recognition for a man who is an amazing person and an excellent Dealer Principal. “Mr. Vackar’s dedication to the stores and his team is a key to the dealership’s success. His vision and intuition for the industry have given us a profound edge,” she said.
Also, she said that Bob is a hands-on dealer and maintains daily communication with key management. He deals with manufacturers working through goals, strategy, inventory allocations, and much more.
“Mr. Vackar’s position on the pandemic as well as the safety of our team and customers has been quite clear from the beginning. We have an excellent team in place to carry forth and execute the corporate plan to support those expectations.” Natasha stated.
Bob’s management team knows him best. Natasha agrees that Bob is a deeply engaged mentor. “He spends so much time inconspicuously helping people to cultivate their talents and strengths, until one day, people are more capable and competent than they ever realized! He’s clever like that, and it’s great!”
TBB asked, how will Bob celebrate this unique recognition? “That surprise is still in the works,” Natasha finalized.
Roberto Hugo Gonzalez is the 2009 SBA Journalist of the Year Award Winner and The 2009 and 2012 Paul Harris Award recipient. Roberto is also the publisher of Texas Border Business and Mega Doctor News.