Kerlin Motor Company Inc. received the Ford Motor Company President’s Award for the second year in a row Tuesday. Pictured (L to R) are Mike Murphy, Detroit region regional manager for Ford Motor Company; Rick Kerlin, co-owner and general manager; and Valerie Warner, Kerlin co-owner and public relations. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union.
Kerlin Motor Company Inc. received the Ford Motor Company President’s Award for the second year in a row Tuesday. Pictured (L to R) are Mike Murphy, Detroit region regional manager for Ford Motor Company; Rick Kerlin, co-owner and general manager; and Valerie Warner, Kerlin co-owner and public relations. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union.
SILVER LAKE - Of the 3,100 Ford Motor Co. franchise dealers in the U.S., only 300 received the President’s Award this year for 2021.

Kerlin Motor Company in Silver Lake was one of them - for the second consecutive year and fifth year overall.

A copy provided of a letter to Kerlin from Andrew Frick, general manager of sales, distribution and trucks, Ford Blue, and Frederiek Toney, president, Global FCSD, Ford Blue, states, in part, “On behalf of Ford Motor Company, we are pleased to recognize the Kerlin Motor Company Inc. team for your tremendous achievements in the 2021 President’s Award program. This honor signifies your dealership team’s exceptional performance and outstanding accomplishments.”

The letter, dated March 14, 2022, continues, “The President’s Award is only presented to those top-performing Ford Dealerships that exhibit quality business practices and Ford’s core principles. Dealerships nationwide competed for the honor, but only 10% of all dealerships achieved the 2021 President’s Award.”

In presenting the award to Kerlin Motor Company co-owners Rick Kerlin and Valerie Warner and their employees, Mike Murphy, Detroit Region regional manager for Ford Motor Company, said, “It is truly my honor to be back again. It’s interesting. Last year I had a wonderful barbecue. When the list came out of all the opportunities, I thought, ‘I’ve got to stay hungry for this one!’ It’s going to be a great day because it’s a wonderful, wonderful time.”

He continued, “I can’t thank all of you for everything you do. We’re here to celebrate the President’s Award. It’s your second, back-to-back award. The President’s Award is given to 10% of our dealers nationally. And we love all 3,100 of our Ford dealers, and they represent our products and services every single day to 2 million customers a year. But, the 10% are just 300 dealers nationally who have the highest levels of customer satisfaction. And they treat their customers - our customers - like family. They are family!”

Murphy said he works for a family company and CEO Bill Ford “is on our connection points every other week, updating 200,000 Ford employees - his family - of the situation, whether it’s COVID, microchips or how we want to improve into the next revelation of automobiles, like EVs.”

He said when he thinks about family, “there is no dealership better than yours about being family. You are all family. You all treat all your owners like family. And you treat each other like family. You treat me like family.”

He said Ford has the highest owner loyalty of any manufacturer in the United States. “More people come back to Ford, more people come back to your dealership than any other manufacturer. We also know - and thanks to all of you - that it takes more than an individual. It takes a team. And because of all of us, because of the way you represent to your community and to your owners, Ford is the largest manufacturer of automobiles in North America. We would have never done that through any other distribution system than the great way we’ve had here for 95 years. And in our existence for 118. You’ve been with us the whole way.”

Murphy also talked to Kerlin about being open to change.

“I can tell you, we are preparing, Ford Motor Company, preparing our dealers and all of you for the change that’s going to happen, and that’s with EVs and battery-electric vehicles. We’re going to continue to produce great Broncos like you see outside. Awesome product. And, at the same time, we’re going to continue to introduce new vehicles. We’re investing $30 billion in Kentucky and Tennessee to bring that next chapter to ensure that all of you are prepared, whether you sell, service, finance, with the right equipment, the right product and the right services to deliver the same type of experiences that you’ve done for the last 95 years,” he said.

After accepting the award, Kerlin thanked his employees for doing a great job every day, saying he and the customers appreciated it.

“That’s why we’re here, to serve them. Mike said it’s a family. I feel like you’re all our family and I just appreciate all of you so much and we’ll try to do it again next year,” Kerlin said.

Warner thanked everyone and said, “It couldn’t happen without everybody’s part.”

Before the awards presentation, Kerlin said receiving the award was really big.

“It’s really, totally a team effort. The award is based solely on customer surveys that are returned from our customers, so the whole team is involved and everybody does a great job day to day to take care of our customers,” he said.

On May 19, Kerlin Motor Company celebrated its 95th year of business. He said the key to staying in business that long, and receiving the President’s Award, is, “our team that we’ve put together. The people we have and just taking care of the customer on a daily basis.”

He said they’re family and they try to treat their customers like family.

“We just try to do our best job every day,” he stated.