Ford dealers around the U.S. and Canada are facing major changes in the coming months and years, particularly after the automaker rolled out its sign-up process for the new Model e Certified programs – which will allow dealers to sell EVs under certain stipulations. Aside from investing in charging infrastructure and selling vehicles at fixed costs, the industry is certainly changing at a rapid rate, with supply chain issues leaving precious little inventory on lots over the past few years. Big changes are also on the horizon for a legendary Ford dealership in Southern California – Worthington Ford – which has now been sold, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Calvin Coolidge Worthington made a name for himself by creating some humorous and oftentimes downright strange commercials starring all sorts of animals to promote his Ford dealership, which helped him build a massive conglomerate of 27 locations that sold more than a million vehicles. Since Worthington passed away back in 2012, only one dealership – a Long Beach location he purchased back in 1963 – still featured his name, but soon, that will no longer be the case after his family decided to sell it.
“It’s very sad,” said Nick Worthington, Cal’s grandson, who broke the news to the dealer’s staff. “Our employees have been with us 40 plus years. It’s a part of everyone’s childhood and life growing up here. It’s hard to close that book for everybody.” “He was very emotional. And yeah, there were tears all around,” said Shawn Abdallah, a finance director at the dealership.
Meanwhile, the company that purchased Worthington Ford – Nouri/Shaver Automobile Group – plans to keep all of the dealer’s current employees, though they’ll have to reapply for their jobs. The iconic Worthington Ford sign will remain up through the end of this month before it’s changed to BP Ford, though for many SoCal residents, this particular location will never really be known as anything else.
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My idol growing up. Wanted to be a car salesman like him. Needless to say my parents weren’t happy.
“Nouri/Shaver Automobile Group – plans to keep all of the dealer’s current employees, though they’ll have to reapply for their jobs.”
a) they may be looking at cuts to wages and benefits, and/or
b) some will not be rehired (as moving forward, they won’t need the same size sales or service staff, regardless of choosing ICE or BEV specialization.)
Your read is on the money having watched my local Ford/Lincoln store change hands. Gone was the family owned and operated business replaced by a corporation. First order of business was to rid the store of long time employees, reduce sales commissions and eliminate staff benefits long enjoyed by employees. The ugly side of market capitalism is not pretty. Ford needs to get a handle on these predatory businesses that bear its name… if they don’t, the brand won’t matter in the marketplace.
I remember Worthington only too well. One afternoon, I got curious and went down to his big Ford agency. I parked on the street, because it was one of those places where you drove over those spring-loaded one-way spike things like at the entrance to paid parking lots. Getting ou took getting someone to open a swing-arm gate. This was to keep people trapped until they signed a deal or somehow got out.
Some of the used cars shown on television were – in person – trashed cars. One Nissan 810 looked like someone had taken a Sawzall to the dashboard. Another, a Ford, looked fine on the side seen on TV, but was badly sideswiped on the other.
They got away with a lot back then; I am sure some dealers still play games. It is what makes buying a car worse than root canals.
Here is central New Jersey we had a similar situation. The owner of a conglomerate of dealerships in Flemington and Princeton, Steve Kalafer, passed away a while back. He had built this empire over about 40 years, starting with the Ford dealership he bought from a fellow named Ditschman ( he kept the name). All told he had 25 to 30 dealerships of varied makes.
Last November I believe, the family sold pretty much everything. It was purchased by another automobile dealer mogul for a lot of money.
I have gone to the Ford dealer for service since I bought my 2015 Expedition and had been treated extraordinarily well. It was my 12th vehicle from the family of dealerships.
I’m not sure if I’ll go back there now as pricing for service has more than doubled.
Oh well, at least the family got rich.
Times are changing.
I still remember his ad. jingle: If you need a car or truck and you really don’t give a f#ck, go see Cal…
Where the freeways meet in Downey
My dog spot, elephant, tiger, bear,etc.
Cal worthington was a one of a kind gentleman genius. Cowboy hat and all.
Always fun to go to in September to see all the new cars. And see him there too.
Nothing to sell and huge investments in EVs. I’d sell too.