Ramon Alvarez C. President/Owner, Alvarez Electric Motors Company, Alvarez Lincoln, Alvarez Jaguar and El Show de Don Ramon is being recognized as an entrepreneur that has Survived and Thrived. Wells Fargo Bank is the presenting sponsor of Hispanic Lifestyle’s 2014 Business Expo and Conference to be held on August 6, 2014 at the Ontario Airport Hotel and Conference Center. Mr. Alvarez and other Latino Business Owners will be honored during the lunchtime program.
From our 2012 article.
The EcoE commuter car, the EcoTruck and the EcoVan neighborhood vehicles offer consumers and fleet managers the most affordable route ever to electric vehicle ownership The nation’s first EcoCentre, selling some of the country’s most affordable electric cars, trucks and vans, has opened in Irvine, Calif., giving environmentally conscious motorists the opportunity to get a close look at a new line of vehicles that cost little to buy and virtually nothing to drive. The Irvine EcoCentre is part of the Fladeboe Automotive Group, which already owns several vehicle dealerships, some featuring alternative fuel vehicles, adjacent to Interstate 5, just south of Interstate 405. The EcoCentre, located between the Group’s Honda and Volkswagen dealerships, is the next step in offering motorists a choice in what they drive, General Manager Patrick Thomas said.
“One of the reasons the Group decided to get into electric vehicles is that we want to be a frontrunner,” Thomas said. “We want to establish the presence of electric vehicles in Southern California.”
The EcoE, EcoVan and EcoTruck all plug directly into a standard electrical socket. Each vehicle travels at a maximum speed of about 25 mph, with a range of 25-40 miles. The EcoE commuter car is $9,995; the EcoTruck is $16,995; and the EcoVan is $17,995. They cost about 3-5 cents per mile to operate. Denise Fladeboe, President and CEO of Fladeboe Group “was the guiding force in terms of electric vehicles and establishing our EcoCentre,” Thomas said. “This is her vision. She feels very strongly that this is the vehicle of the future.” The EcoCentre represents a new approach to purchasing alternative fuel vehicles because buyers can try out the all-electric EcoE car, the EcoVan or the EcoTruck and compare them to other low-emission vehicles, such as the Coda, at Fladeboe Group’s other on-site dealerships. “There have not been a lot of vehicles of this category available to the general public, so there is an education process,” Thomas said. “When people try out the vehicle, they are very impressed by its performance.” Potential buyers will work with product specialists, not salespeople, Thomas said. Because all the electric vehicles are value priced, product specialists can focus on helping potential buyers decide on the right vehicle that fits their needs.
“They are there to answer questions and find out the customer’s needs and wants,” Thomas said. “It’s not the traditional way to purchase a car through a negotiation.”
Thomas said his marketing team is reaching out to local colleges and universities, business campuses, a large retirement community nearby and shopping centers. All are interested in using the low-cost vehicles for short trips to stores or nearby shops or for their security patrols and other business needs. “It is a specialized product, and it’s great for a lot of consumers who are looking for reliable and efficient transportation in their neighborhood,” Thomas said. “People are very enthusiastic about this car. We feel very strongly that over the course of the next 5-7 years, electric vehicles are going to be a major part of the car industry.” In addition to the Eco vehicles, Fladeboe dealers sell the Honda Fit and the Coda electric vehicles, the Honda Civic natural gas vehicle and the clean diesel Volkswagen Jetta. “We have a lot of options for the consumer,” Thomas said. “That is one of the reasons we got involved with Eco.” Eco vehicles are imported from China by Alvarez Electric Motors Company. President/Owner Ramon Alvarez C., who also owns Lincoln and Jaguar dealerships himself, spent two years researching electric vehicles and finding the right product. “We’re not just a company that sells cars,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez said he likes working with existing automotive dealers in distributing the Eco vehicles because existing dealers have an established record in the car-buying community and are available to provide service for vehicles after they are sold. Having the EcoCentres alongside other dealerships, even those that also are selling alternative fuel vehicles, also creates a better environment for people who are interested in buying their first such vehicle, Alvarez said. “It’s all about finding a car that fits you,” Alvarez said. “The beauty of working with a multi-franchise dealer is that if one of the Eco vehicles doesn’t work for you, they can show you something else within their franchise. That is our vision, to sign up multi-franchise dealers so that people can have that choice.” Thomas, the Fladeboe general manager, said the Fladeboe Group has been very impressed with Alvarez and the Eco product line.
“I think he will do every well,” Thomas said. “I have had a lot of calls from people who are interested in the vehicle and from people who are interested in perhaps opening a dealership.”
RAMON ALVAREZ C.
President/Owner, Alvarez Electric Motors Company, Alvarez Lincoln, Alvarez Jaguar and El Show de Don Ramon
When Ramon Alvarez took over the Riverside (CA) Lincoln-Mercury franchise in October 1995, it was a failing dealership that sold 10 vehicles a month. Since that time, Alvarez has:
- Transformed Alvarez Lincoln-Mercury into the fourth largest Lincoln-Mercury dealership in California, as measured by sales volume.
- Added, in October 2001, Alvarez Jaguar. In recent years it has ranked #1 in highest percentage of objective for sales in the market area.
- Designed and constructed a modern sales and service facility that integrated Jaguar, Lincoln and Mercury while continuing to do impressive sales and service volumes on the same site.
- July 2010 founded Alvarez Electric Motors Company (AEMC). EcoCentre, the franchise name for dealerships, will be starting its dealership network openings in August, 2012 with Fladeboe EcoCentre in the Irvine Auto Center. Subsequent dealer openings will follow in Southern California and eventually throughout the United States. These are 100% electric cars.
- January 2011 formed a partnership with Univision Radio and started “El Show de Don Ramon”. A radio show attending to the Hispanic community on how to buy a new or used car. The show is transmitted in the Houston market.
As he has built his high-line vehicle business, Alvarez has been increasingly recognized for his ability to successfully sell to the region’s emerging markets. A Fortune magazine article in 2001 called him a trailblazer who was “enabling Ford to reach its most dynamic future market – minority ethnic groups.”
Alvarez currently oversees all Hispanic marketing efforts for Lincoln-Mercury in California and is founding member of Ford Motor Company’s Minority Dealer Association. In 1999, he led the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as President.
In addition to running one of the largest minority-owned dealerships in the West – one of two Hispanic Jaguar dealerships in the country – and as of May 2009 earned the #1 Hispanic owned business in the Inland Empire – Alvarez has served the motor vehicle industry in several capacities:
- Appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to California’s New Motor Vehicle Board in 2007. Elected to Vice President February 2009. Elected to President in 2011 and re-elected to President in 2012.
- President of the Riverside Auto Center (2002-2005)
- Member and Chairman Lincoln-Mercury Dealer Association (2000-2004)
Among many awards and distinctions, Alvarez Lincoln-Mercury has received honors in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year program.