COLUMBIA, SC – The nomination of Robert H. Crews III, President of Crews Subaru and Crews Chevrolet in North Charleston, South Carolina, for the 2024 TIME Dealer of the Year award was announced today by TIME.
Crews is one of a select group of 49 Dealer nominees from across the country who will be honored at the 107th annual National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, on February 3, 2024.
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. Crews was chosen to represent the South Carolina Automobile Dealers Association in the national competition – one of only 49 auto Dealers nominated for the 55th annual award from more than 16,000 Dealers nationwide.
“The relationships I’ve built over 40 years in the automotive business are so special,” nominee Crews said. “Many key members of our team have been with us for over 20 years. Together we have created a culture of a customer first, community centered business. This allows me to focus on taking care of our 200+ team members and their families. Most days I’m in the people business, not the car business. So many who have bought and serviced their vehicles with us have become friends. I value the team I get to work with every day, as well as, the manufacturers, the banks, and the Dealer Association that support our industry.”
Crews attended Randolph-Macon in Ashland, Virginia, and Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. He began his auto career in 1980 working with his cousin Rick Hendrick at Rick Hendrick Honda in Columbia, Charleston, and McKinney, Texas.
“I had the great opportunity to learn the business from Rick, who challenged me to excel professionally, to care for others, and to give back to the community,” Crews said. “Working with him was a wonderful experience and gave me the foundation to eventually own and manage my own stores.”
Crews moved back home to Charleston, SC to oversee BMW, Volvo, Honda, and Saturn Dealerships before buying the Saturn of Charleston franchise in 2001. In 2009, he acquired the Subaru franchise and in 2010 he purchased the Chevrolet facility right next door. The Crews organization is always about doing the right thing and giving back to the community. Because of these efforts, the Crews team was awarded with Subaru manufacturer’s top honor 2021 “Love Promise Retailer of the Year.”
Locally, Crews Subaru has been named Charleston’s Choice “Best Place to Buy an Import” for 4 of the last 5 years. Crews Chevrolet has been named Charleston’s Choice “Best Domestic Dealer” for 8 consecutive years.
Crews said, “My first car was a Malibu - we were a Chevrolet family - and now it’s a dream come true for my wife Kelley and I to own Crews Chevrolet with my sister, Laura Martin. We raised our four now grown children, Spencer, Robert, Summer, and Sydney in Charleston.”
His enthusiasm for the auto industry has remained constant for more than 40 years. Crews brings that same optimism to the Board of the South Carolina Automobile Dealers Association, where he has served at large since 2019 and as a Vice President since 2022.
“In the last few years, we have diligently addressed changes in legislation that have had an impact on our businesses statewide,” he said. “I feel fortunate to represent and advocate for fellow Dealers and to find solutions for the issues facing the auto industry in South Carolina.”
Understanding that car Dealerships play an important role as an economic driver and philanthropic partner in the communities they serve, Crews is dedicated to rallying his team to give back. His stores support over 80 organizations and charities in the community.
“When I put my last name on the car Dealerships, I felt like I was really putting my dad’s name on them,” he said. “I think he would smile about that. But I also feel if he were to see the impact that we strive to make every day by helping our community, he would be incredibly proud.”
To that end, one of his most important initiatives is working with the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Charleston, where he has served on the Board since 2019. In addition, Crews holds American Red Cross Blood Drives at his Dealership, as well as provides meals to neighbors in need through the Lowcountry Food Bank. “Since June of 2020, at the height of the pandemic, we have collected over 3,000 units of blood in 107 blood drives held in our showrooms and have helped provide 1.4 million meals to food-insecure children, adults, veterans, and seniors,” he said.
Other organizations he supports include Surfers Healing Folly Beach (surfing camp for children with autism); Jeans Angels (mobile shower/laundry/barber trailer and meals for the homeless); Make-a-Wish SC (granting 22 wishes since 2017); Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (partnership to provide 800 blankets to patients undergoing treatment at MUSC Hollings Cancer Center); Charleston Friends of the Library; Charleston Animal Society; Hallie Hill Animal Sanctuary; East Cooper Meals on Wheels; and many more.
Crews was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by E. Sims Floyd, Jr., Executive Vice President of the South Carolina Automobile Dealers Association. He and his wife, Kelley, have four children.
The South Carolina Automobile Dealers Association (SCADA) is the only statewide lobbying force in South Carolina dedicated to the economic and political interests of the owners of automobiles and the Dealers of new cars and trucks. SCADA represents new car and truck franchised Dealers across the state of South Carolina and advocates on behalf of its members in public policy, regulatory issues and economic development impacting the automotive industry. SCADA works to forge meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships between auto Dealers and their local, state and federal representatives. SCADA also provides a wide range of publications, educational opportunities, networking and business improvement services to its Dealer members to help them excel in a dynamic and ultra-competitive business environment.
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