LAS VEGAS – Bob Giles, owner of Giles Automotive in Lafayette, La., was announced as the 2022 TIME Dealer of the Year by leaders from TIME and Ally Financial at the 105th National Automobile Dealers Association Show.
Now in its 53rd year, the TIME Dealer of the Year award is one of the auto industry's most prestigious and highly coveted honors. The Louisiana-dealer's extraordinary business and community leadership earned Giles the most prestigious award in the automotive retail industry. A standout of his many contributions was the launch of the Giles Essential Errand Running Service, which offers grocery and essential item deliveries by dealership staff to senior citizens and immunocompromised individuals.
Keith Grossman, President of TIME, and Doug Timmerman, president of Dealer Financial Services at Ally, announced Giles as the winner at a Las Vegas ceremony honoring all the dealer nominees. Giles was chosen from a field of nearly 16,000 franchised dealers across the country, 47 of whom made the nominee list.
Timmerman remarked: "Even as America's auto dealers adapt to a rapidly changing auto market, the commitment to their customers, employees, and communities remains unparalleled. The TIME Dealer of the Year nominees stand out for doing it right in their industry and steadfastly giving back to their communities."
In addition to Giles, four dealers were recognized as TIME Dealer of the Year finalists:
- Robert Sickel, Pine Belt Chevrolet, Lakewood, N.J.
- Todd C. Ouellette Sr., Long-Lewis Ford of the Shoals, Muscle Shoals, Ala.
- Gregg Kunes, Kunes Country Ford-Lincoln, Delavan, Wisc.
- Chris H. Wilson, Wilson Motor Company, Logan, Utah
Giles earned a degree in accounting from Texas A&M University in College Station in 1976, but his training in the retail automotive industry began at age 11, when he was paid 25 cents an hour to wash vehicles on the lot at his dad's Ford dealership in Denison, Texas. From there, Giles spent time working in all departments, learning how to operate a dealership from the ground up. That experience, paired with his accounting degree, led Giles to start selling cars after graduating from college and landed him a role as sales manager at 24 years old. A few years later, he was awarded a Volkswagen, Porsche and Audi store in Lafayette, and he moved to the city on his 28th birthday to establish what would become Giles Automotive Inc. Today, the auto group includes three stores in Lafayette, one in Opelousas, La., and one in El Paso, Texas, representing Nissan, Subaru and Volvo brands.
Giles has been an active member of both his state and local dealer associations. For the Lafayette Auto Dealers Association where he was named chair of the board four times, Giles was instrumental in launching the group's annual car show and sale in 1984. Giles has also advocated for his fellow dealers during his time as a member of the Louisiana Automobile Dealers Association. "I worked with the state association to put forth initiatives to benefit all dealers in the state, and focused on warranty reimbursement rates, technician training, purchasing groups and beneficial legislation impacting auto dealers," he said.
Beyond his industry, Giles is a community leader who has initiated campaigns to help local organizations grow and expand. He partnered with a local TV station to create the Acadiana Community Heroes campaign, which recognized deserving individuals or nonprofit organizations that have made a difference in his area. The recipients received a monetary prize and exposure for their cause.
He also has been active in the Outreach Center, which provides shelter and services to the homeless in the Acadiana region for many years helping to increase their annual fundraiser from around $100,000 annually to more than $500,000.
Other organizations he supports include Dreams Come True of Louisiana (grants dreams to children with life-threatening illnesses); Acadiana Animal Aid (a no-kill animal shelter in Carencro, La.); Hunters for the Hungry (local sportsmen provide fish and game for meals at homeless shelters); Love Our Schools; and many more.
The TIME Dealer of the Year winner and finalists were chosen by a faculty panel from the Tauber Institute for Global Operations at the University of Michigan. Dealers are nominated for the award by state and regional automotive trade association executives.