THIS GARDEN STATER’S AUTO DEALERSHIPS HAVE BEEN WEATHERING TRENDS, SALES PEAKS AND VALLEYS, AND FAST CHANGING TECH FOR 40 YEARS
BY JESSICA JONES GORMAN • PHOTOS BY ROBERT NUZZIE
When Sam Wright started selling cars in New Jersey in the 1970s, his son, Jordan, would visit his Elmwood Park showroom every weekend.
“I loved being there,” Jordan Wright said of the car dealership where his father rose through the sales and management ranks. “As a kid I was fascinated by cars, and couldn’t wait to visit him at work. I basically grew up in a car showroom.”
In 1993, when the elder Wright purchased his own dealership in Mount Vernon, New York, launching the Quality Ford name, a teenaged Jordan became even more involved.
“At the age of 13, I really started hanging around, learning all of the aspects of the industry,” Wright said. “I’d wash cars, work with the service adviser, run errands for the parts department, and eventually started working my way into management.”
Wright, who was born and raised in Bergen County and attended Don Bosco Prep and Muhlenberg College, joined the family business after earning his college degree. Over two decades, the Quality Ford name continued to grow with the acquisi tion and sale of more dealerships.
“When I came on board, my vision was to grow the business and the brand,” noted Wright, who became partner and co-owner in the family Ford dealership before purchasing several more of his own. “I met with different manufacturers before founding Quality Chevrolet in 2017.”
For Wright, that dealership in Old Bridge was a good addition for both him and his customer base.
“Adding a lineup of Chevrolet cars to the Quality brand has been a complementary move,” Wright said, explaining how he can now offer customers a variety of options. “I can cater to all of their needs. If they’re looking to buy another Ford, of course, we have that. But if they want to buy something new, we now offer Chevrolets, too all under the Quality brand.”
The move was so successful that Wright branched out again last month, adding a Chevrolet, Buick, and GMC dealership to the Quality family.
“I think customers appreciate how the brand has grown,” Wright said of his latest expansion, to Englewood. “They know that our sales and service now extends across a number of brands and in a number of locations across the state. We have salespeople and managers who have been with us for 25 and 30 years, and that commitment is now branching out to serve an even larger clientele.”
Next up for Wright, he explained, is working on ways to simplify the buying experience for a new generation.
“Everyone always talks about how dreadful the whole experience is,” the dealer said. “But we like to make it easy, so it doesn’t feel like a frustrating process. Everyone is moving at such a fast pace these days, so we strive to simplify this necessary task.”
In part, that’s why the company sales team will deliver cars to a customer’s doorstep, as well as pick up trade ins. Wright explained further that many transactions can now take place via text or email.
“It’s no longer necessary to step foot in the dealership if you don’t want to,” he noted. “Tell us what options and features you want, and we’ll locate a car within your price range. Customers can buy a Ford, Chevy, Buick, and GMC car anywhere in the country, but they return to Quality because of the unique experience and customer service they get here.”
Wright added that cars themselves are modernizing the driving experience. “The domestic manufacturers we market are ahead of the curve when it comes to electrified and autonomous technology,” he said. “Lane departure warnings, attention drift warnings, and automatic braking systems will soon be standard in most vehicles, and it’s pretty cool to watch all of this innovation come to life. Car makers are working hard to keep drivers off their cell phones, too, and with all this rapidly advancing technology, your car will actually pull you back into your lane if eyes leave the road and you begin to drift.”
Asked about the future of the company, Wright said that he hopes to acquire more facilities and continue to build a strong team of managers and associates. “My staff is the lifeblood of this business,” he said. “Quality’s success is completely dependent on their strength and loyalty.” If success continues to bloom, Wright hopes to pass the keys on to his children, too.
“I think my kids might be more obsessed with cars and the family business than I was,” he concluded, detailing how his sons, who are 7 and 5, and his daughter, 2, visit him at work every weekend. “My dad taught me this business when I was their age, and I hope to one day do the same.”
Quality Chevrolet in Old Bridge
1292 Route 9 South, Old Bridge / 732.479.4148 / qualitychevroletnj.com
Quality Chevrolet, Buick, GMC of Englewood
386 406 Grand Avenue, Englewood / 877.757.6853 / qualitychevybuickgmc.com
Quality Auto Mall
55 Rt. 17N, Rutherford / 201.935.2400 / qualityautomall.com