Car dealer Terry Lee earns national honors


By Mark Ambrogi

Terry Lee and his automobile dealerships have accumulated a share of honors of late.


Lee, a Carmel resident, has been named one of the 2017 TIME Dealer of the Year nominees. There are normally 49 nominees around the country. The nominees will be honored and a winner will be named Jan. 27 at the National Automobile Dealers Association Convention & Exposition in New Orleans.

“The nomination, which is significant and flattering in itself, does come with a donation to a charity of your choosing,” Lee said.

Lee made the $1,000 donation to Samantha’s House. The winner receives a $10,000 donation to the charity. If he wins, Lee will choose Samantha’s House again.  He serves on the board of the nonprofit. Lee provides a mobility converted vehicle, SUV or Oydssey van to a needy family once a year.

“It really changes their life,” Lee said.

Automotive News, a trade publication, selected the 100 best dealerships to work for out of the more than 17,500 dealerships in the nation.

The two dealerships from Indiana that ranked in the top 100 were Terry Lee Honda, Avon, and Terry Lee Hyundai Genesis, Noblesville.

In the medium-sized companies, Terry Lee Honda was ranked No. 1 and Hyundai was No. 24.

“So that was a nice award to win,” Lee said.

Terry Lee Honda was selected in the top 100 for the fifth consecutive year.

“Happy employees are going to generate happy customers,” Lee said. “I think we’re very rigid in our hiring practices and make sure we hire the right people with the right motives and intentions and really are customer focused. When (Automotive News) starts interviewing your employees and talking to your people about work environment, benefits and the management team, how they like the dealership where they work,  those are things we seem to excel in, and that’s one of the reasons I’m sure we won the award.”

Lee opened the Honda dealership in 2009 and Hyundai in 2015. Lee, an Indianapolis Arlington High School graduate, started as a business manager at age 21 for the Tom Wood organization.

“I’ve been a salesman, general sales manager and was a partner with Tom Wood for 10 years from the mid-1980s to mid-1990s,” Lee said. “Then I was a Chevrolet dealer in Cincinnati for 13 years.”