Over the years I’ve had the pleasure to meet and work for, in some capacity, a few legends in the automotive industry – Pat Ryan, Roger Penske and Tex Earnhardt are a few. It came to my attention that one of those legends, Tex Earnhardt has passed away over the weekend.
I first met Tex Earnhardt in the early 90’s. I was a customer satisfaction consultant for Chrysler at the time. I was living in San Antonio working with local Chrysler dealerships when I was notified of a business trip my division was taking to tour Earnhardt Dodge. At the time Earnhardt Dodge was always competing with Lynn Hickey Dodge for the Number 1 Dodge dealership ranking in the world. The difference was that Earnhardt Dodge sold the volume, but also had great customer satisfaction scores.
At the time, I remember being in “awe” of meeting Tex and the magnitude of his operation. The vast size of the dealership, the number of vehicles on the lot and of course the bin of stuffed Bulls was quite different than most dealerships at the time. If you purchased a vehicle you got a cute little stuffed Bull, hence their “No Bull” mantra. During our visit we learned that short phrase “No Bull”, truly encapsulates the entire position of the dealership’s point of difference from other stores. You see, Tex really cared about his customers and it showed through his people.
Since meeting Tex over 25 years ago, his operations has become one of the most impressive auto groups in the country. I was fortunate to have met Hal Earnhardt Jr. again one last time in November.
A life well lived. Rest in peace Tex.