Mitsubishi Motors Dealer Partner Spotlight – West Mitsubishi on Rising to the Occasion
Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. (MMNA) is celebrating dealer partners who go above and beyond for their communities. They provide more than just a great place to buy a car – they help their hometowns thrive in the good times and heal in the challenging times. They rise to the occasion, whatever the occasion may be.
In June, we are proud to feature farmer, first responder and West Mitsubishi Dealer Principal Gary Campbell, who recently rose to the occasion, when there was a medical emergency at a Mitsubishi Dealer Partner event. Campbell sprang into action, providing emergency medical assistance, and sprang onto our radar as a must-feature for our Dealer Partner Spotlight.
FIVE QUESTIONS WITH GARY CAMPBELL
Owner & Dealer Principal, West Mitsubishi, Orland, CA
- This is the story of a small-town farm kid, turned successful, independent car dealership owner, turned successful Mitsubishi franchise owner. Take us back to the very beginning. I grew up on a large farm in the small town of Orland, CA. Alongside my father, I worked from sunup to sundown, and we grew whatever crop was fashionable at the time – hay, corn, etc. – just trying to make a living. When I was 14, I went with my dad to a farm auction, where we bought four Pacific Gas and Electric farming vehicles. We painted them, fixed minor things here and there, and we re-sold each for a $500 profit. In the 80s, that was big money, and as farmers and entrepreneurs, that sparked our interest. From there, my father got his dealers license, and we opened a small independent dealership. We made mistakes at first, learning how to balance the store and the farm, but the farmer’s work ethic prevailed, and 35 years later, the store, the farm (and the family) are still going strong.
- Five years ago, in your words, it was time to take the next step, and you became a Mitsubishi franchise dealer. Why this next step and why Mitsubishi? Orland is a Northern California farming town of less than 10,000 people – far from the beaches and city lights of Los Angeles. Everybody knows everybody, and your word and reputation are everything. We wanted to grow the business, but we also wanted to be able to sleep at night, knowing we were doing right by our customers and our community. We were attracted to Mitsubishi, because of their 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty and the quality of their vehicles. I would put any family member or neighbor into one of these cars. Fast forward, I am now a member of Mitsubishi’s National Advisory Board, where I am able to represent small towns and small businesses, and because they are a small manufacturer (in the grand scheme of the automotive industry), I really feel heard and valued, and that goes a long way.
- You’re a farmer… and a car dealer… and a volunteer firefighter, and you are all of these things every day. How did you become a volunteer firefighter, and how do you balance it all? As a kid, I always wanted to be police officer. I studied criminal justice at the local junior college, and afterward, I graduated from the police academy. I was working at the dealership during the day, and as a reserve police officer at night, and it wasn’t sustainable. Around that time, the local fire department was recruiting volunteers, and the position would allow me a little more flexibility, while still allowing me to serve my community. So, I signed up, and I have been volunteering with them now for 26 years. As far as balancing it all, family – and my employee family – always come first. I am very involved in the day-to-day operations of the dealership, but my phone also doubles as a fire department pager, and my team knows that, when the phone/pager/fire alarm sounds, even if I’m in the middle of a deal, I’ve got to go. The team is cross-trained, so there is no lapse in service. Plus, the dealership is strategically located one block from the fire house, so I can get there quickly.
- Community service is a core personal value of yours, and it is also a core value of your business. Tell us about that. My parents taught me to treat people right, to be fair, and when you can, to improve the lives of those around you. I try to do that for my employees, and as a team, we try to do that for the community. We support the local 4-H Club and high school, and I encourage everyone to get involved in their own personal causes, and to take time off as needed to support those causes. Those values influence the way we run our business. We greet people at the door with a smile; we treat them like family – we walk them where they need to go and make any introductions needed; we are transparent about service and parts our customers really need. We build trust. Everything is clean and comfortable. As a result, our customers come back to us for service, and even customers of other manufacturers come to us for service! This is a farming town, and we see plenty of pickup trucks in our service lane.
- You’ve (seemingly) done it all. What’s next? Even though I have been doing this my entire life, as the industry and society changes, there is still so much to learn. I am a member of several professional networking and education organizations, namely a 20 group, focused solely on Mitsubishi. 20 groups bring dealerships from across the country, large and small, together to learn from each other and consultants about how to grow and improve their businesses. In my free time, what little I have of it, I own several rental properties around town, and I enjoy working on them. I am also an avid motorcyclist. I’ve biked across the United States and Australia. One day, when I know that my family, business and community are taken care of, I hope to be able to get up and go whenever and wherever I want – just ride off into the sunset.
About Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc.
Through a network of approximately 330 dealer partners across the United States, Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc., (MMNA) is responsible for the sales, marketing and customer service of Mitsubishi Motors vehicles in the U.S. MMNA was the top-ranked Japanese brand in the J.D. Power 2021 Initial Quality Study, ranking third overall and tied with Lexus. In its 2030 Environmental Plan, MMNA's parent company Mitsubishi Motors Corporation has set a goal of a 40 percent reduction in the CO2 emissions of its new cars by 2030 through leveraging EVs — with PHEVs as the centerpiece — to help create a sustainable society.
With headquarters in Franklin, Tennessee, and corporate operations in California, Georgia, Michigan, New Jersey, Texas, Florida and Virginia, MMNA directly and indirectly employs more than 8,000 people across the United States
For more information on Mitsubishi vehicles, please contact the Mitsubishi Motors News Bureau at 615-257-2698 or visit media.mitsubishicars.com.
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