EPISODE 13 – Small towns throughout New Mexico started out with a bank on one end and a car dealership on the other. In between the economies blossomed, turning towns into cities and cities into major metropolitan hubs. A predominantly rural state, New Mexicans heavily rely on their cars, trucks and SUVs.
Whether doing road trips up through the enchanted circle or long haul jobs through the south, New Mexico is a state that has been built on four wheels.
In this episode of Legendary New Mexico, we’re taking a closer look at how the auto industry and the locally owned dealership have played a vital role in the growth of the Land of Enchantment.
100 Years of Galles
While Karl Benz was perfecting the design of his internal combustion engine in the workshops of Germany, Nicholas Galles was setting up shop as a wagonmaker. The craftsman and entrepreneur was unknowingly laying the groundwork for the oldest car dealership in the state of New Mexico.
From Detailer to Deal-Maker
Buddy Espinosa’s story is the epitome of the American dream. Nearly 30 years ago, fresh out of his service with the US Marine Corps, he took a job as a detailer with then Sauder Toyota of Santa Fe. The job was just the beginning of a lucrative career in the auto industry. From there, Buddy climbed the dealership ladder, training as a Toyota Certified Technician in Farmington, before becoming a service writer.
Dealerships Build Community
Dennis Snyder is celebrating 43 years with Rich Ford in 2019. The charismatic president and general manager of Rich Ford says his job is like working “in the candy store.” A big part of that experience is all about his staff, his clients and his community. Rich Ford, in Albuquerque and Edgewood, has grown significantly with their communities.
The landscape of auto car commercials is vast. From the sophisticated to the silly, the thirty-second hits have made an indelible mark on the community. One of the creative masterminds behind the campaigns is Ed Smith and his award-winning ad agency, Edit House. They’ve worked for more than 20 years on grandiose campaigns, as well as campaigns that elicit guffaws.
Dealerships by the Numbers
Exactly how much impact do dealerships have on the local economy? According to the National Association of Auto Dealerships, New Mexico has 114 dealerships, which employ nearly 7,000 New Mexicans.
History in the Making
Big families and successful dealerships are part of the Corley DNA. Patriarch Eddie Corley Sr. moved his family to Grants, NM in the 1970s to find work in the uranium mines. When that opportunity didn’t materialize, he applied his entrepreneurial skills to a number of ventures, attracting the attention of Ford.
More Than Car Sales
Giving back to the community was just as important to Don Chalmers as his lucrative Ford dealerships. He was involved in dozens of philanthropic endeavors right up to his passing in 2014. His dealerships continue on his legacy of giving, contributing tens of thousands to charitable organizations statewide.
Predicting the Auto Future
It’s an industry even Nostradamus might have a hard time foreseeing. According to Hollywood, flying cars should already populate the skies. While airborne vehicles might still be years away, current technology is impressive. Within ten years, many predict that every new car rolling off the lots will have built-in wi-fi hotspots, keeping drivers connected to the internet and possibly a network which will link cars on the road.
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