The Time Dealer of the Year award honors new-car dealers in America who exhibit exceptional performance in their dealerships and perform distinguished community service. Dealers are nominated by members of the ATAE (Automotive Trade Association Executives) and the winner is acknowledged during the opening business session of the annual
NADA Convention & Expo.
The 2017 Award
The Time Dealer of the Year Award has been called the most prestigious honor a new-car dealer can receive. On Jan. 27, 2017, Carl Swope, president of Swope Toyota in Elizabethtown, Kentucky,
was named the Time Dealer of the Year during the NADA Convention & Expo in New Orleans.
In addition to exhibiting exceptional performance in their dealerships, Time Dealer of the Year nominees perform heroic community service and are strong advocates for improving the world around them. For more information, visit:
The 2016 Award
In 2016, Mary Catherine "Kitty" Van Bortel, president of Van Bortel Subaru in Victor, N.Y., was named Time Dealer of the Year at the 2016 NADA Convention & Expo in Las Vegas.
History of the Award
BY PETER CRAIG
How the dealer award became
a really big deal.
If the Saturday Evening Post hadn’t folded in 1969, there may never have been a Time Dealer of the Year award. That’s because the Post had been sponsoring the quality dealer award since 1960. Upon that magazine’s demise, Time stepped in to do the honors.
1977 Time award winners line up on stage at the convention in New Orleans.
1970 The first Time award winner: Ford dealer O. Willard Noller of Topeka, Kan. (right) with Time’s George W. McClellan.
In the Time award’s first year—1970—there were 50 “winners” (now called nominees), twice the 27 maximum that the Post had named in any given year. (The next year, the Time figure would jump to 71.)
Out of the 50, a winner among winners—“Dealer of the Year” O. Willard Noller of Topeka, Kan.—was named; there were 10 runners-up. All honorees were chosen by a committee of University of Michigan Business School faculty members based on the qualities of being a good dealer as well as a good citizen. A similar selection process is in place today.
By 1972, Time was referring to the winners as “representatives of the thousands of quality dealers across the country” and the Dealer of the Year had become the “National Representative” (before reverting to its original name in 1982). Each year, one dealer has received the top honor—except in 1977 and 1998, when two dealers were named.
1984 In the entrance hall to the 1984 NADA Convention, nominees’ faces appear on Time cover mock-ups.
The first female Dealer of the Year was Sheilah Garcia of Albuquerque, N.M., in 1992. In addition, five NADA chairmen or presidents have received the Time top dealer honor, either before or after their terms. ❖