In recognition of automotive industry champions who possess a relentless commitment to their communities, Ally Financial and TIME announced Gary Rome, owner of Gary Rome Hyundai in Holyoke, Massachusetts, as the 2023 TIME Dealer of the Year at the 106th National Automotive Dealers Association (NADA) show in Dallas.
Now in its 54th year, the TIME Dealer of the Year award is one of the auto industry’s most prestigious and highly coveted honors. Rome’s credo of treating both employees and clients like family, and his commitment to embracing new energy-efficient technologies that will move the industry forward helped earn him the top recognition from a field of more than 16,000 franchised dealers across the country. His state-of-the-art Hyundai store is fueled by a solar field that he owns, and he has increased investment in electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure and inventory, becoming one of the first dealers in the U.S. to deliver an EV from Hyundai. Rome’s commitment to energy-efficient technologies led to his EV sales being up 38% over the last year.
Doug Timmerman, president of Ally Auto, and Jessica Sibley, CEO of TIME, announced Rome as the winner at a ceremony that honored all 48 nominees.
“As the auto industry continues to evolve, it is imperative that auto dealers continue to embrace new technologies that will move the industry forward,” said Timmerman . “Year after year, we see these auto dealers go above and beyond for their customers, communities and employees —and TIME Dealer of the Year nominees are more than deserving of this special recognition.”
“For over 50 years, TIME has recognized the impact of automotive dealers on their communities with the TIME Dealer of the Year award,” said Sibley. “We are proud to continue the legacy of honoring these works of service with our partners at Ally.”
The TIME Dealer of the Year is chosen by a panel composed of faculty from the Tauber Institute for Global Operations at the University of Michigan, which selects one finalist from each of the four NADA regions, and, ultimately, a national winner.
In addition to Rome, three other dealers were recognized as 2023 TIME Dealer of the Year finalists:
- Mark Brickey, Sand Mountain Toyota, Albertville, Ala.
- Bruce Daniels, Honda Marysville, Marysville, Ohio
- Tim Hutcherson, Downey Nissan, Downey, Calif.
As the exclusive sponsor of the TIME Dealer of the Year program for the 12th year in a row, Ally will provide grants to eligible 501c3 charitable organizations selected by the nominees, finalists and winner. For more than a decade, Ally has made donations in connection with the program, totaling nearly $1 million. This year, Ally will give $10,000 to the charity of Rome’s choice and $5,000 to each of the nonprofit organizations selected by the three finalists. In recognition of their achievements, Ally also will give $1,000 to the charities of choice for each of the 48 nominees.
For more information on the nominees, finalists, and winner, visit: https://www.ally.com/go/allydealerheroes/nominees.
How Rome Became a Legacy in the Automotive Industry
Following in his father’s footsteps, Rome became general manager of his father’s Nissan store in 1984, after graduating from Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York, and attending the NADA Academy. Less than a decade later, in 1997, Rome purchased the original building from his father and founded his own dealership, Gary Rome Hyundai in Holyoke. Today, the Gary Rome Auto Group also includes Gary Rome Kia of Enfield in Enfield, Connecticut.
Rome’s dealerships strive to be welcoming havens for both employees and customers. Rome engages his team and community by celebrating milestone events, holding monthly raffles and hosting themed luncheons. In addition to his passion for excellent customer service and employee appreciation, Rome is the president of the Hyundai Dealers Advertising Association and has served on national dealer councils for 16 years.
Rome is a stand-out community leader who devotes himself to helping numerous charitable organizations, including Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Jimmy Fund, Hyundai Hope on Wheels and breast cancer research organizations. He also hosts the annual Gary Rome Academic Achievement Award of a Brand New Hyundai Car Giveaway, a program that rewards one deserving Holyoke High School senior with a new car.
For more information, visit www.ally.com and follow @allyfinancial.