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National City Mile of Cars names new executive director

The National City Mile of Cars, a leading auto dealership cooperative group, has named Leslie Larranaga-Britt as its new executive director.

Larranaga-Britt, a media consultant who operates her own company called MediaWise, previously served the Mile of Cars as media director. She began serving the Mile of Cars as media buyer in 2002. She succeeds Weldon Donaldson, who spent 20 years as executive director. Donaldson, who passed away in May 2014, joined the Mile of Cars in early 1995 after a career in television sales.

With her new title, Larranaga-Britt will continue serving as both media director and executive director, overseeing day-to-day administration, partnerships, legislative advocacy, community outreach and branding, including advertising and social media.

In addition to operating her media strategy company, Larranaga-Britt teaches media planning and buying at San Diego State University’s College of Extended Studies as part of a curriculum that offers a professional certificate in marketing and digital media.

Founded in 1954, the National City Mile of Cars, along National City Boulevard in National City, features nine family-owned dealerships, representing more than 21 brands, offering more than 5,000 new and certified pre-owned vehicles. More than 20,000 vehicles are sold on the Mile annually, and a half-million vehicles have been sold since the Mile was established 60 years ago, MOC officials said.

Despite a competitive nature that’s part of the auto sales business, the Mile of Cars group has been lauded throughout the U.S. auto industry for their success at working together on advertising campaigns and other projects, including legislative advocacy and charity donations. The Mile of Cars is believed to hold the longevity record in the U.S. for continuous service as an auto dealership collective.

“It is truly an honor and pleasure for me to serve as executive director, and I am very fortunate to work with such a great group of individuals on the Mile of Cars,” said Larranaga-Britt, who has more than 20 years of experience in advertising, marketing, media planning and buying. “I admire every one of them for their professionalism and how they work together for the benefit of all, yet they’re still competitors. I look forward to representing the association and continuing their growth.”

“We admire Leslie very much because of her love and passion for the Mile of Cars,” said Jenifer Ball, president of the Mile of Cars and general manager of Ball Acura. “She wants to see the Mile grow and prosper and her qualities of dedication and hard work will make her a great liaison between the Mile, city officials, community leaders and the car-buying public.”

“Leslie will be a good leader for us,” said Bill Cumming, owner principal of Ron Baker Chevrolet. “She is smart, competent and she has worked hard to earn the right to serve as executive director.”

“Leslie has great knowledge of our operations, and she is whole-heartedly committed and dedicated to growing and increasing awareness of the Mile of Car brand,” said Rudy Erm Jr., owner principal of South Bay Volkswagen. “We have a champion in Leslie, who will work tirelessly to advance our efforts to serve the community.”

“No other auto group in our industry comes close in loyalty and respect for each other over the past 60 years like our Mile of Cars group,” said Gary Fenelli, vice president and general manager of Frank Toyota. “We’re looking forward to continued growth with Leslie as our executive director.”

In honor of its 60th anniversary, the Mile of Cars dealers are offering special pricing on select models throughout the year. A new TV advertising campaign invites viewers to “celebrate and save” and join in six decades of making memories. It also touts the Mile of Cars as “the number one family-owned-and operated auto park in the nation.”

The Mile of Cars dealers include: Ball Auto Group, representing Acura, Honda, Kia, Mitsubishi, Suzuki and Renegade; Perry Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram; Perry Ford; Ron Baker Chevrolet;  Frank Motors Group, representing Toyota, Scion, Hyundai/Equus and Subaru; Wescott Mazda; Mossy Nissan and Fiat; South Bay Volkswagen; and, South County Buick and GMC. Quotes and more information are available at www.mileofcars.com.

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