Car Talk

Meet Wanda Cronic Howell Owner/Dealer of the Cronic Automotive Group

Q. How has Cronic streamlined the car-buying process for today?

A.  People go online before they come in. Our customers find what they’re looking for, submit a credit app, and negotiate their trade—all from home. We've generally struck a deal and got the paperwork ready so they don't spend a fifth as much time in the dealership as they used to. And they don’t actually have to come in at all. We had one soldier who bought from Kabul, Afghanistan for his wife to pick up the vehicle. We can finalize many deals online, and we can even deliver to homes in Fayette County and surrounding counties.

Q. You’re one of the only women in the country who owns and runs car dealerships—What do you bring to the table as a leader?

A. I’ve learned to network with business women’s groups like the ABWA and BWFC. In those groups, women support one another and give back to the community with scholarships and nonprofit grants. Also, as a woman, I think I bring empathy for people and a focus on family and faith. Profitability is important but I have to have my priorities in the right order and that means family, service to others and community first. 

Q. You keep 125 people employed, what is your management style?

A. If you're secure within yourself, you surround yourself with a team that is more talented and smarter than you are. You want to bring out the best in them. 

Q What difference does that make to your customer experience?

A. It’s important to have a team that’s focused on the customer and their needs. Many people have a negative view of car salespersons and the car buying experience. We are working hard to change that. We hope to exceed the customer’s expectations with every visit. 

Q. For you, for your lifestyle, what do you enjoy driving the most?

A. I like the Chevy Tahoe. They're big and roomy. I can take a lot of people to a business women’s meeting or all of my family for a special meal. 

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