Home        Nominees        Past Winners

Jonathan Chariff

Jonathan Chariff

South Motors Automotive Group

Palmetto Bay, Florida

“Our employees are the heartbeat of the organization. To this day, I strive to treat everyone like family and to help them feel comfortable in any situation. I am most proud when I see others reach their full potential and succeed.”

Chariff has always had an innate drive and entrepreneurial spirit. At age 13, he started a food delivery service, which gave him a taste of independence and responsibility. After high school in South Florida, he opted to enter the workforce, joining a local advertising agency.


“This is where I first learned the power of effective communication – and that the needs of the client far surpass any other.” Fortified with his new insights, Chariff launched a company that leased and chartered jets to different tour operators and governments around the world. It was at this time that he met his mentors, Charles Dascal, one of the founders of South Motors, and lawyer Larry Hoffman. They recruited him to work at South Motors, which he joined in 1999.


Chariff was named vice president of business development for the South Motors group after one year at the company and later was put in charge of dealer operations, managing six brands, 11 stores and more than 1,100 team members. Today, he is president and CEO of the company, a position that he has held since 2013.


“The most valuable information I obtained and the most useful knowledge I gained came from the daily grind. Nothing can compare to my time spent learning all of the departmental roles in our operations. From used cars to fixed operations to the new car sales process, I am where I am today because of the experience I gained working hard throughout the organization.”


Chariff also rolls up his sleeves to advocate for the industry as a whole. He has held leadership positions at the Florida Automobile Dealers Association, the South Florida Automobile Dealers Association and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Advisory Board.


“The overall objective of my service on these board is to maintain a competitive, thriving market for both drivers and dealerships by providing practical solutions via policy and legislation, as well as improving safety standards,” he said.


Chariff is equally committed to philanthropy, corporate social responsibility and community engagement in South Florida. His company has sponsored runs/walks for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and numerous cultural events, including South Motors Jazz at Pinecrest Gardens and South Motors Fine Arts Festival at Pinecrest Gardens. The dealership also supports the Miami Book Fair, a renowned literary festival.


“As part of our sponsorship of the Miami Book Fair, I have donated hundreds of books to underprivileged children to ensure that they too can partake in Miami’s yearly reading party.”


Other organizations Chariff supports include: Amigos for Kids (help prevent child abuse and neglect); Cystic Fibrosis Foundation; American Diabetes Association; Susan G. Komen; Feeding America; hurricane relief groups; and many others.


Chariff was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Ted Smith, president of the Florida Automobile Dealers Association. He and his wife, Jacqueline, have one daughter.