Capitol Ford Linlcon
Santa Fe, New Mexico
“Capitol Ford Lincoln is successful today because of my father, and I am proud to be a second-generation dealer. That feeling of goodwill and trust that my father instilled in our company made me so proud that I wanted to continue his legacy.”
(New York, NY, October 18, 2022) – The nomination of Marc Brandt, dealer principal at Capitol Ford Lincoln in Santa Fe, New Mexico, for the 2023 TIME Dealer of the Year award was announced today by TIME.
Brandt 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. Brandt was chosen to represent the New Mexico Automotive Dealers Association in the national competition – one of only 48 auto dealers nominated for the 54th annual award from more than 16,000 nationwide.
“Capitol Ford Lincoln is successful today because of my father, and I am proud to be a second-generation dealer,” nominee Brandt said. “That feeling of goodwill and trust that my father instilled in our company made me so proud that I wanted to continue his legacy.”
Brandt’s parents, Marc and Ramona Brandt, acquired the Ford franchise in Santa Fe in 1965. “I was just 5 years old, but that is when my retail automotive career began,” he said. “I have fond memories of pulling my little brother around the service department on a floor jack when my pop was working evening hours.”
He also remembered the elaborate and glamorous new model introductions at the dealership in the 1960s and 1970s. “The cars were draped with cloth on the showroom floor and the storefront was covered in brown paper until the unveiling,” Brandt said. “The events featured live music and food and Ford enthusiasts could not wait to see the new models. It was that kind of excitement and fun that drew me into this industry.”
During high school, Brandt worked at the dealership doing various jobs. “At age 14, I became gainfully employed at Capitol Ford pulling weeds, trimming trees and sweeping the car lot,” he said. He moved into various departments, including sales and service, and by age 20, he had gained a significant understanding of the workings of the dealership.
After graduating from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces in 1982 with a degree in business management and business marketing, Brandt began his full-time career at Capitol Ford. He soon gained experience in fixed operations and when the store’s general manager died unexpectedly from a heart attack, he filled that role. “It was at that time that my father’s health began to fail, so I officially stepped into that position at age 26,” he said.
Today, Brandt oversees Capitol Ford Lincoln with his brother, Michael. His son, Zachary is now general manager and the next generation to enter the family enterprise. The business also includes a Quick Lane Tire & Auto Service Center (with car wash) and CF Collison Auto Body & Repair.
“My dad always believed in treating others as you would like them to treat you,” Brandt said. “He is my hero. He applied this principle in everything he did and lived his life with honesty, fairness, integrity and kindness, establishing our business as a strong and trusted community partner for more than 57 years.”
With such deep roots in New Mexico’s retail automotive market, Brandt is proud to have served the Ford Minority Dealers Association and New Mexico Automotive Dealers Association, where he was named chair elect in 2019 and chair in 2020. “I fought for dealers when franchise laws were being changed to allow factory-direct sales in New Mexico,” he said. “And I was in constant dialogue with our governor’s office during the height of the pandemic to minimize the impact of shutdowns on our industry.”
To honor his parents, Brandt, his brother and late sister founded the Marc and Ramona Brandt Charitable Foundation, which, according to Brandt, provides gifts annually for educational scholarships, youth activities, animal welfare groups and community organizations.
Brandt is very proud of his work with the now-closed Saint Francis Cathedral School in Santa Fe, where he was basketball coach and activities director from 1994 to 2002. “During my tenure, we launched the St. Francis Classic, a post-season elementary school basketball tournament,” he said. “This tournament became the highlight of the basketball season, and the event was a successful fundraiser for the school.”
Since 2010, Brandt has participated in Pancakes on the Plaza as a main sponsor of this annual July Fourth celebration in downtown Santa Fe. The popular event is hosted by the Rotary Club of Santa Fe and features a pancake breakfast, live music, arts and crafts, and a vintage car show. Money raised goes to local nonprofit organizations like the Santa Fe Children’s Museum and YouthWorks, a group that helps Santa Fe youth succeed and flourish.
“Our community supports us, and we are happy to give back through donations and service,” Brandt said.
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.”
Brandt was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Ken Ortiz, executive director of the New Mexico Automotive Dealers Association. He and his wife, Linda, have three children.