Not all dealerships are bad. Yea, I know dealer reputations tend to lean that way when I write about their behavior and markups. But most of that deals with just plain old greed. On the other hand there are times when their behavior is completely out of pocket and sincere. In this case, one dealership has made things right with a teen who was out both thousands of dollars and a vehicle.
If you missed the story before, here’s a small recap: Jonathan Fredricks, a 16-year-old Dallas-area teen saved up $10,000 over the course of a year working at Chick-Fil-A. His grandfather offered to take him car shopping when he turned 16, and their shopping journey landed them at a local dealership called I Drive-DFW. They didn’t find a car they liked on the lot, and instead were offered to buy the personal vehicle of the salesperson that was helping them out, the ironically named James Steelman. Fredricks paid Steelman about $9,800 a 2016 Mazda CX-5, which they later find out didn’t actually belong to Steelman. It was owned by the dealer, who Steelman bought the car from and stopped making payments on. The dealer repoed the car from Fredricks five months after he paid Steelman cash for it, leaving the teen without a car and his money.
Everything was looking bleak for the kid, until another dealership stepped up to help him out.
Frank Kent Motor Company, a GM dealer group of Cadillac, Chevy, Buick, and GMC, reached out to me after seeing the story. The dealer’s marketing director Aaron Hoernke said that they wanted to make things right after seeing what happened to the kid.
After seeing the story initially on CBS Dallas – we at Frank Kent knew we had to do something to take care of this kid and show him that not all dealers are sleazy like the one he had previous dealings with! So we reached out to the news station to get us in touch with him and, after getting in contact, let him know that we would like to donate a vehicle to him at no cost.
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I couldn’t believe what I was reading. A dealer that had nothing to do with the initial situation was doing something that the original dealer failed to do. They wanted to give the kid a car with no strings attached because it’s the right thing to do. And that seems to be what Frank Kent Motor Company was founded on.
A lot of dealers have founding principles that they just don’t follow anymore. This place appears to follow its principles though: Founded in 1935, the dealer’s guiding principle is “Morals, values, and ethics over profit.” I’d say that’s a hell of a principle to go by being in the car sales business. And with their creed of “Community Driven…Locally Different…Since 1935”, donating a Kia Soul to a kid who was screwed by a salesperson at another dealership is very different. I Drive-DFW should take note: this is how you do business.