Gaudin Motor Company (gaudinmotorcompany.com), Las Vegas’ oldest, family-owned and operated automotive company, is celebrating its 100th anniversary. Here, owner Gary Ackerman shares how his role in the driver’s seat has steered Gaudin, and its three Las Vegas dealerships—Gaudin Ford, Ford Country and Gaudin Porsche of Las Vegas— into its 10th decade of revved-up success.
The Gaudin Ford team in 1928.
Congratulations on your 100th anniversary. What does this milestone mean to you? One of my perspectives is that I am a lucky leaf on a great family tree. The centennial is a tremendous testament to those that came before us and made it possible for us to continue the journey. There are only 56 families that have been with Ford longer than we have. Having the entire Ford family come from all over the U.S. to celebrate our 100th anniversary was certainly the highlight for us.
Gaudin Motor Company in Salinas, Calif., circa 1940
How has the business expanded since opening in 1922? It started in a barn, in a lettuce field—no TV, no radio and no newspaper—taking mules in on trade and having to give driving lessons to potential buyers! Fast-forward to today and the electronic revolution that we are just embarking on. My grandfather Gaudin would love to be here, experimenting with all the new technology. We use this reference to frame our training and communication with both our team and our clientele, to help them understand that we are still here and still serving them the way we always have.
Former Gaudin Ford owner the late Don Ackerman strikes a pose with a Ford Bronco at Gaudin Ford in 1982.
What has made Las Vegas a significant location for Gaudin Motor Company? It is the only home I have ever known, and it is by far the largest piece of our success in the last 60-plus years. If you take good care of your team and your customers, it would be difficult not to grow and succeed the way this town has grown around us.
A present-day look at Gaudin Ford
How has the power of working together as a family impacted the business? The family has stuck to my grandfather’s principle like glue. Like my father before me, I firmly believe in the concept of doing our best to treat our team members like we all have the same last name. It presents its own unique challenges, but the benefits have far outweighed the complications over the years. We can’t expect our team to treat our clients that way unless we show them exactly what it looks like.
What are your bestselling car models? Our bestselling vehicles both represent the Vegas marketplace and more. For Ford, it is the F150 pickup, not a huge surprise as it has been the bestselling vehicle in the country for 40-plus years. For Porsche, it is the Macan, their sporty crossover SUV. Our clients love the combination of the sportiness that Porsche is famous for along with real functionality.
Tell us about your three locations and how each serves the Las Vegas customer. Our three stores, Ford Country, Gaudin Ford and Gaudin Porsche of Las Vegas, are all separate companies with separate leadership teams and personalities. However, they are all tied together by the family history and by our five great leaders—Sabrina Krizmanich, Julie Cane, Brad Cambridge, Wesley Gregg and Paul Jarrett. These five work together as one team, with one key focus—serving our town and serving our customers. They wake up every day realizing the only way to do that is to treat our teams like they are our family, and they are.
The sizzling fleet of Porsche models available at Gaudin Porsche of Las Vegas.
"THE CENTENNIAL IS A TREMENDOUS TESTAMENT TO THOSE THAT CAME BEFORE US AND MADE IT POSSIBLE FOR US TO CONTINUE THE JOURNEY.”–GARY ACKERMAN
Gaudin Motor Company principal dealer Gary Ackerman is carrying on his family’s legacy.
What do you see for the future of Gaudin Motor Company? We are very focused with only two manufacturers to represent. Ford and Porsche are two of the very best in the industry, and both have great plans for the future. We have great locations, great facilities and great staff to carry us well into the future. The Las Vegas market is coming back very fast and is growing in entirely new directions, so there will be more growth for us as well.
Photography by: PHOTO COURTESY OF GAUDIN MOTOR COMPANY