Carbone Auto Group
In 1929, Joseph Carbone, a 19-year-old from East Utica, N.Y., decided to invest his life savings to start his own business, opening C&S Garage with friend and partner Phil Sacco.
The business consisted of an eight-stall car garage, a Cadillac converted into a homemade tow car, and despite the economic pressures of the time, the business proved successful due to its strong focus on a job well done and attentive customer service.
In 1931, Sacco left the company, leaving Carbone as the sole owner. Soon after, the company was renamed Carbone Motor Sales, and began buying and selling used cars in a now family-run business. Even though the name had changed, its mission had not. Carbone Auto Group strives to provide the finest automobiles in the world and a continued dedication toward customer service excellence. To this day, Carbone Auto Group has grown to 14 dealerships and revenue levels exceeding $300 million.
For Carbone Auto Group, time scale is a significant advantage. From its beginning in 1929, the company’s core values of honesty, respect, integrity, and fairness still hold true today. “Most of our competitors are standalone dealerships,” Alex Carbone, Executive Vice-President of Variable Operations with Carbone Auto Group, told the American Business Journal. “This gives us a competitive advantage of scale, and by using leverage, we can drive our costs below those of our competitors.”
The company leverages its size to not only reduce costs, but to also employ some of the best people in the market, all supported by a valuable employee training program.
The third generation of Carbones operate the business today and the history in and expertise of the automotive industry serves as their largest competitive advantage. Throughout their history, the Carbones have established community trust and key customer relationships in providing the best automotive and customer service
In 2008, each member of the Carbone management team took hold of separate divisions of the company, each looking after an individual dealership to provide added support through the recession.
“We suffered a bit,” commented Enessa Carbone, Vice-President of Carbone Auto Group, “but we were able to take a look at our cost structure, manage our costs, and take advantage of our size to do what the business needed.”
Through its longstanding history in the automotive industry, Carbone Auto Group has lived through many economic downturns, and the 2008 recession was no different. During the economic slide, the company went back to the basics, and with this was able to purchase other dealerships that were not performing as strongly.
Although the economy will continue to be a challenge, the growth and industry shift toward technological advancement serves as an avenue that assists Carbone Auto Group in meeting increasing consumer demand. Carbone Auto looks to utilize technology that will assist in running a leaner and more visible administrative department. In fact, the company is currently investing in software that will assist in forecasting projections to give each manager a better idea of daily operations. Enessa Carbone added, “We overcame our challenges by working hard to keep costs down and by providing a superior buying experience for each customer.”
A central focus of Carbone Auto Group is continued business growth. In the come years, Carbone Auto Group plans to expand some of its smaller dealerships and to add a greater number of dealerships to its overall repertoire. Carbone Auto Group also hopes to grow the company in the digital space, through social media and an increase web business presence.
The current generation and management team of Carbone Auto Group has learned a lot from their fathers and grandfather before them, a shared focus and philosophy that the family has taken forward in continuing to pursue best-in-class operations, solid business standards, and a true dedication toward customer satisfaction. As Enessa Carbone concluded, “It’s not just about the bottom line with us. Profit is just a byproduct of doing a good job.”