You could say the love of cars run in Chris Guerrero’s blood. The 46-year-old Sacramento, Calif., native, who will be the first Hispanic to helm an Ford dealership in the state when he takes over as dealer principal at the San Tan Ford at Val Vista Drive and Loop 202 in Gilbert, said grew up working in his father’s auto body shops before entering the car sales business after college.
Despite earning a degree in accounting at Sacramento State University in 1983 and working for several years as a certified public accountant, Guerrero said was drawn back to the world of automobiles and has served 22 years in the car sales business.
After starting as a controller at Courtesy Chevrolet at 1233 E. Camelback Road in Phoenix, Guerrero said he worked his way up the food chain to general manager.
Guerrero said success came fairly easily.
Guerrero said Ford recognized his past successes, chiefly his l e ad e rs h i p of Courtesy Chevrolet at 1233 E. Camelback Road in Phoenix between 1999 to 2004. That’s when the dealership became the nations second-largest, a direct result of Guerrero’s decision to appeal directly to the Hispanic market by committing 40 percent of the dealerships advertising budget to Hispanic media and hiring bilingual sales, service and administrative staff.
Guerrero said that was something few other dealers wre doing at the time.
“That’s really what Ford saw and they thought, ‘Wow, if he can do it for Chevrolet maybe he can do it for a Ford store,’ ” he said.
Guerrero said he plans to apply what he’s learned as a manager at Courtesy to his new role at San Tan Ford when it opens around mid-April.
The dealership will begin with about 60 employees, but that will soon grow to about 100.
Alberto Rodríguez, a spokesman for the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said in a written statement that Guerrero’s success is a testament that Hispanic entrepreneurs are “making momentous strides within the Arizona business landscape.”