Tex Earnhardt, founder and CEO of Earnhardt Auto Centers, began selling cars at the tender age of 21. Sixty-five years later, the company and Earnhardt name are both still going strong throughout the Chandler community.
Success at an early age
Earnhardt, who spent his early years on a ranch in the Rio Grande Valley in Southern Texas, eventually moved to Chandler, Arizona with his family. When he was awarded a Ford franchise in Chandler in 1951, Earnhardt became the youngest Ford franchise owner in the United States.
Not content to rest on his laurels with the one successful Ford dealership, Earnhardt went on to acquire several more automobile franchises.
It didn’t take long for East Valley residents to become familiar with the affable cowboy car salesman. Earnhardt became widely known for his great deals on cars and for the bull that he rode in his commercials, as well as his trademark slogan, “That ain’t no bull.”
Interestingly, this well-known line is an ideal example of truth in advertising, since the bull that Earnhardt rode in the ads was actually a steer.
Growing the business
Over the years, Earnhardt’s Ford franchises became a family affair; first his sons Hal and Jim Babe joined him in the business and eventually his grandkids.
Today, the Earnhardt family is part of one of the largest automotive empires in the country, with 19 dealerships selling 17 brands of vehicles. In addition to Chandler, people who are in the market for a vehicle can find Earnhardt dealerships in a variety of cities including Gilbert, Mesa, Phoenix, Scottsdale and Goodyear.
The Earnhardt family’s dedication and devotion to the well-being of their nearly 3,000 employees who work at Earnhardt Auto Centers is as legendary as Earnhardt’s lively commercials.
In literally hundreds of cases over the years, the Earnhardt family has personally given moral and financial support to employees who were facing a family tragedy or illness.
A variety of charities and other worthy causes have also been positively impacted by the Earnhardt family’s generous spirit and philanthropy. This desire to give back to the community has definitely rubbed off on their employees; many of whom participate in the company’s charity program called H.E.A.R.T., which involves donating a portion of their paycheck to a different charity each month.
The City of Chandler may have significantly grown and changed over the past 65 years, but the Earnhardt family’s commitment to their employees and community remains as steadfast as ever.
Looking ahead, Earnhardt and his family remain committed to top-notch service, affordable prices and a great selection of some of the most popular vehicles in the Valley. And that, of course, ain’t no bull!