Joe Lunghamer Chevrolet
“The most rewarding part of my retail automotive career has been the opportunity for me to impact lives. Not simply my own family – which is a number one priority – but also making a difference in the lives of people who are part of our dealership family.”
(New York, NY, October 18, 2022) – The nomination of Joseph Lunghamer, president of Joe Lunghamer Chevrolet in Waterford, Michigan, for the 2023 TIME Dealer of the Year award was announced today by TIME.
Lunghamer is one of a select group of 48 dealer nominees from across the country who will be honored at the 106th annual National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Show in Dallas, Texas, on January 27, 2023.
The TIME Dealer of the Year award is one of the automobile industry’s most prestigious and highly coveted honors. The award recognizes the nation’s most successful auto dealers who also demonstrate a long-standing commitment to community service. Lunghamer was chosen to represent the Detroit Auto Dealers Association in the national competition – one of only 48 auto dealers nominated for the 54th annual award from more than 16,000 nationwide.
“The most rewarding part of my retail automotive career has been the opportunity for me to impact lives,” nominee Lunghamer said. “Not simply my own family – which is a number one priority – but also making a difference in the lives of people who are part of our dealership family.”
Lunghamer earned a B.A. in philosophy and religion from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1985 and an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1989.
During his high school and college years, he worked at his family’s car dealership, which was originally founded by his grandfather, Curt Matthews, in 1954, and managed by his father, Joseph Lunghamer Sr., starting in 1975.
“I worked as a porter, helping out in new- and used-vehicle operations,” Lunghamer said. “This experience enabled me to watch and learn about dealership processes, in addition to being mentored by my father and his team of professionals.”
After receiving his M.B.A., he joined the car dealership full-time in 1990 and was fully prepared to take over the family business when he purchased the company from his father in 2012.
“I was blessed to work alongside my father for 20 years before he retired,” he said. “He taught me the auto business from top to bottom, and I am proud to carry on his name and dealership legacy.” Lunghamer Sr. passed away in 2022.
Today, the Lunghamer Automotive Group includes four new-car dealerships in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota, representing brands Buick, Chevrolet, Ford and GMC. His two sons, Joe and Dan, are the next generation to join the family enterprise.
Lunghamer is actively involved in the Detroit Auto Dealers Association and has served as president, vice president and secretary of the group. He was extremely proud to chair the 2022 North American International Auto Show, known as the Detroit Auto Show, which was visited by President Joe Biden and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.
“I had the immense honor of working with my colleagues to usher in a whole new auto show experience for Detroit,” he said. “We created a next-generation, reimagined event with a totally transformed indoor and outdoor experience, including product ride-and-drives and dynamic experiential activations.”
He added, “It’s an evolving time for auto shows around the world, but we have been able to successfully host an event that provides a platform for new and emerging mobility as well as a showcase for the great city of Detroit.”
On a local level, Lunghamer gives back to his community by sponsoring the Come to Class to Win Some Cash initiative in partnership with the Pontiac School District in Pontiac, Michigan. The program encourages exceptional attendance during the school year by offering students a chance to win one of 10 cash prizes of $1,000 for attending school. The prizes, donated by Joe Lunghamer Chevrolet, are awarded at the district’s Back to School Rally at the beginning of the following year.
“It has been rewarding to participate in this great program that is designed to keep children in school and on a solid educational track, while bringing joy and support to students and staff alike,” he said.
Lunghamer also serves on the Board of Fellows for Trinity College and has been a board member for the Detroit Auto Dealers Association Charitable Foundation Fund of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.
Dealers are nominated by the executives of state and metro dealer associations around the country. A panel of faculty members from the Tauber Institute for Global Operations at the University of Michigan will select one finalist from each of the four NADA regions and one national Dealer of the Year. Three finalists will receive $5,000 for their favorite charities and the winner will receive $10,000 to give to charity, donated by Ally.
In its 12th year as exclusive sponsor, Ally also will recognize dealer nominees and their community efforts by contributing $1,000 to each nominee’s 501(c)3 charity of choice. Nominees will be recognized on AllyDealerHeroes.com, which highlights the philanthropic contributions and achievements of TIME Dealer of the Year nominees.
“For over 50 years, TIME has been committed to recognizing the impact of automotive dealers on their communities with the TIME Dealer of the Year award," said Edward Felsenthal, editor in chief and CEO, TIME. "We are proud to continue the legacy of honoring these works of service with our partners at Ally.”
Doug Timmerman, president of dealer financial services, Ally, said, “Auto dealers across the country who are nominated for this award each year are committed to not only doing it right and leading in a rapidly changing automotive industry but to strengthening their communities through giving back. The TIME Dealer of the Year program celebrates dealers who are the role models of the retail auto industry for their continuous efforts to lift up and support their employees, customers and communities.”
Lunghamer was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Rod Alberts, executive director of the Detroit Auto Dealers Association. He and his wife, Jeanine, have five children.