February 26, 2024

Morris C. Smith III, Ford Dealer Story – Revitalizing Dealerships Across the Map

Raised in a military family, Morris C. Smith III initially considered a career in the armed forces. But while working at a local dealership during college, he discovered his talent in the car business. “The best part for me was solving problems, and I learned I was very good at it. That’s how I got my first management opportunity, It allowed me to move up pretty quickly,” says Smith. Within several years of being in the industry, he wanted to own his own dealership. “I didn’t necessarily know how to achieve it, but I knew I wanted to see my name up in lights in front of a dealership.” He achieved that dream in 2021.

His journey led him to take jobs that others didn’t want in locations with high opportunity – Hawail, Alaska, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama – transforming each dealership under his leadership. The same transformative touch revitalized a struggling dealership in Kansas when he became part owner during the height of the pandemic. Within a year of Smith joining the dealership, sales soared 65 percent, and fixed-ops profit experienced a 79.7 percent leap. In September 2021, Smith purchased the dealership, renaming it Morris Smith Ford of Larned.

Undaunted by challenges, Smith, with a background in digital marketing, orchestrated strategic changes that gave the dealership a fresh start. Those changes included focusing on online interactions and growing his team. “When I walked into the store, I only had three employees. I was able to build my team, selecting people who not only could do the job, but understood the vision, and wanted to work toward that,” says Smith.

His blend of discipline, leadership and technological acumen earned Smith the Ford Minority Dealers Association award in 2022 for the highest combined Customer Satisfaction Index for Sales and Service among all minority dealers. Smith aspires to keep growing his business, relying on the same dedication and skills that propelled him from general manager to dealership owner.

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