EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s that time of the year again when Robin enjoys his monthlong family trip to Europe. He ‘s winding up his trip, which began in Greece and covered the beauty of Italy’s Cinque Terre area and the wines and pastas of Tuscany. Now, he’s truffle hunting in the hills outside of Rome before touring the Vatican and Sistene Chapel and returning home to Las Vegas.
In his absence a great number of showbiz entertainers , celebrity VIPs, chefs, restaurateurs and Vegas dignitaries have stepped forward to write their guest columns. Today, we welcome famed Vegas automobile personality and co-owner of Towbin Automotive, Josh “Chop” Towbin.
There are many reasons I love Las Vegas, and at the top of that list is the people. I see a lot of familiar faces when I go to work every day. No matter which dealership I’m at. I see people who are back to purchase a vehicle from us over and over again. Even though it happens many times every day, I always appreciate it. There was a time during the recession that this repeat business kept us healthy and strong — and I know we are so fortunate to have that.
I see parents who first came with their children in car seats who are back to buy cars for those same kids, now drivers, themselves. Members of the military who always come back to us because they know we are going to do whatever we can to honor them.
This couldn’t happen without my team. I’m very proud of them, and we almost always promote from within. For example, Rennie Roopchand, our general manager at Towbin Dodge and Prestige Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM, started in an entry level, hourly position 17 years ago. Our director of operations at Towbin Dodge, Joe P., started as a salesperson 16 years ago; and our general sales manager at Prestige Chrysler Jeep Dodge, Lloyd Andersen, started as a salesperson 19 years ago.
They have all developed their own relationships — people who seek them out when it’s time to buy a new car. I love it when I hear, “I will only buy a car from Lloyd,” or “I will only buy a car from Vanessa.”
Vanessa Rau is product specialist/inventory manager at Towbin FIAT/Alfa Romeo.
Vanessa went from a stay-at-home mom for 18 years to one of our top performers when she joined us several years ago, before we even opened. She is one part of a largely female team at Towbin FIAT/Alfa Romeo, where she works alongside Gina Reed, studio director and Amy Bannor, studio manager. There isn’t a day that goes by that someone doesn’t tell me about a nice experience they had at our FIAT/Alfa Romeo studio. It is so different than what you might expect from a car dealership. All of our new FIAT owners sign our wall and name their car. Though not intended, the wall has become a showcase of great experiences our FIAT buyers have had with us.
Our Alfa Romeo brand has just introduced Giulia, a sexy, new four-door model that is in the same class as the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4. What I love about this car is its presence. BMW, Mercedes and Audi are great cars, but when this Italian-made sedan pulls up, everyone notices it. It blows my mind that this car is even in the same price range. It is the best-handling four-door that I have ever driven.
I had a chance to interview Ralph Gilles, the head of FIAT/Chrysler Automobiles global design and the man behind the Chrysler 300 and so many other iconic cars. He told me all about what went into Giulia’s design, even technology that was borrowed from Ferrari, which is another brand under that umbrella. Ralph and I have been very lucky to have either raced or driven some of the best cars in the world from all different brands.
When it comes to being unique, that’s our specialty. For example, I have a partnership with Voltron Motors, a custom jeep business owned by Tyrese Gibson from the biggest automotive movie franchise in history, “The Fast and The Furious.” We are the sole distributor and partner for this unbelievable custom Jeep company. We are now building Jeeps for celebrities, members of the military and anyone who wants to drive the most unique vehicle on the street.
Most places I go, people ask about our relationship to Floyd Mayweather. The Champ has purchased 116 cars from us and I have been friends with him for nearly 20 years. A little-known fact is that most of the cars Floyd buys are for others. He’s the most generous person I’ve met and I’m lucky to call him a friend.
Towbin Automotive’s dealerships include Towbin Dodge Ram Superstore, Towbin Prestige Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM and Towbin FIAT/Alfa Romeo, which together have the largest inventory of Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep, Rams, FIATs and Alfa Romeos in Nevada. Out of 11 Chrysler Corp. rooftops in Southern Nevada, only three won the customer award for excellence, all of those are Towbin’s dealerships. More information about Towbin Automotive and its dealerships is available at www.kingofcars.com. Towbin Dodge Ram Superstore, 702-558-3800, is at 275 Auto Mall Drive, Prestige Chrysler Dodge Jeep, 702-309-8000, is at 6520 Centennial Center Blvd., Towbin FIAT/Alfa Romeo of Las Vegas, 702-900-3428, is at 2550 S. Jones Blvd and Towbin Motorcars, 702-253-7000, is at 5550 W. Sahara Ave.
As Robin winds down his European travels in Rome be sure to check out our other guest columns all this week, plus in NEON on Friday Boyz II Men star Nathan Morris along with the Q&A session Robin had with new Miss Nevada Teen, Alexis Smith who competes in the national Miss Teen USA pageant on Saturday (July 29) in Phoenix.