For the third year in a row, Everett Ford of Benton has been awarded the President's Award.
A pretty remarkable feat for a dealership that is only four years old, said Eric Bertrand, general manager of Everett Ford.
“We have won the award every year that we have been eligible,” Bertrand said Tuesday. “The President's Award is based on sales and customer satisfaction, and that really comes down to us have good employees who take care of the customers.”
The President's Award is one of Ford Motor Company's most prestigious awards and recognizes the top-performing Ford and Lincoln Dealerships for achieving the highest level of customer satisfaction in both sales and service in automotive retailing.
Going the extra mile for customers has really been important since the COVID pandemic due to supply chain issues and availability of vehicles.
This award is one of Ford Motor Company's most prestigious awards. It recognizes the top-performing Ford and Lincoln Dealerships for achieving the highest level of customer satisfaction in both sales and service in automotive retailing.
“We are so proud of our Everett Ford team,” said Josie Jones, marketing manager for Everett Ford. “Their hard work, tenacity, and enthusiasm for this dealership have allowed our customers to experience what the Everett Difference is all about.”
The President's Award is only given to 340 dealers across the nation from some 5,000-plus Ford dealers. Everett Ford is one of seven in the region to receive this award.
Ford surveys customers and tracks the company's sales for the year. “A lot of places will hit the mark in one category but not both,” Bertrand said.
Arkansas is in a region that includes half of Tennessee, most of Mississippi and part of Louisiana, Bertrand said.
Everett Ford is part of the Everett Automotive Group, which was founded in 2006 by Dwight Everett and his wife Susie when they purchased Everett Buick GMC in Bryant.
The Everetts were 30-year veterans of the automotive industry before founding Everett Automotive Group, according to the company website, everettford.com. Since 2006, the Everetts have opened numerous dealerships including four in Central Arkansas and two in North Texas.
The Everetts are well-known for their strong community involvement along with many local and nationwide charitable donations and sponsorships.
Bertrand, who has been with the Everett company for 12 years, came to Benton from Northwest Arkansas, and he has seen a change in the industry due to the pandemic and the economic havoc that has followed.
Supply chain issues, especially computer chip shortages, have impacted the dealership's ability to have vehicles to sale. “If you order a vehicle, it can take up to two years to come in,” Bertrand said.
Pre-COVID, the dealership sold around 1,600 to 1,700 vehicles a year, he said. Last year, the dealership sold around 900 vehicles. So far this year, sales have averaged about 80 units a month.
“These have been difficult times for the consumer and for us,” Bertrand said. “At one point, we were down to about 20 vehicles on the lot. Now we are up to 120, but we used to carry 400.
“I'm just grateful to have what we have,” he added.
In the near future, regional executives from Ford Motor Company will come from Memphis to Benton to present the 2022 President's Award plaque to the dealership.
Bertrand said when the date for the presentation is nailed down, the dealership will have an event marking the occasion.
“We're just very appreciative of our employees, who do their best to make sure the customer is satisfied,” he said. “Nothing goes right all the time, but we follow through and do what we can.”