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FERNANDO SOMOZA NAMED GM DEALER OF THE YEAR FOR SECOND YEAR
SOUTHFIELD, MICH. - Tues., Feb. 19, 2008 / DiversityBusiness.com --General Motors Minority Dealers Association Vice President and Board Member Fernando Somoza has been named General Motors' Dealer of the Year and Jack Smith Leadership Award recipient in recognition of his dedication to sales excellence and customer satisfaction for the second consecutive year. The award is an exceptional achievement, presented to only 110 of the 7,000 GM dealers nationwide. The award is named after retired GM chairman and program founder Jack Smith.

The Dealer of the Year Award is the highest honor that General Motors bestows each year. The presentation of the award is a testimony to those dealers who exemplify the drive to achieve what GM seeks in all of its authorized dealers. The award recognizes not only sales performance and customer satisfaction, but on-going operating standards and industry leadership. "I am very grateful to GM Chairman and CEO G. Richard Wagoner and his entire team for selecting me for such a prestigious honor. To be named 'Dealer of the Year' for the second time is a testimony of the hard work and dedication of my dealership team," said Somoza.

A native of Managua, Nicaragua, Somoza has been in the automotive business for more than 25 years. Somoza's automotive venture started out as a 'family business', but he went solo in the early 1990s and started developing a Saturn franchise. He is currently the owner of Houston-based dealerships - Saturn of Houston NW, Saturn of North Houston, North Houston Infiniti and Best Mazda Hyundai.

Somoza has received various awards including the Saturn Corporation Summit Award, the Infiniti Award of Excellence; and, he was listed as #42 on Hispanic Business magazine's list of the 500 Largest U.S. Hispanic-owned Companies. He has been featured in Automotive News, GM Edge magazine and on the Bravo cable network reality show 'Project Runway'.

An active member of GMMDA since 1999, Somoza is currently serving his fourth term on the GMMDA Board of Directors. "I am very proud to see Fernando recognized for this outstanding achievement for the second consecutive year," said GMMDA Executive Director Marjorie Staten. "He is a dedicated dealer who gives 110% to his overall dealership operations."

In addition to his service to GMMDA, Somoza has served as chairman of the Houston Automobile Dealers Association (HADA); co-chair and member of the Regional Marketing Council for Saturn Corporation; and currently serves as a member of Saturn's Franchise Operations Team and the Saturn Product Development Task Force. A resident of Houston, Texas for almost 30 years, Somoza has been involved with the Alley Theater, The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Houston Grand Opera and Rainforest Foundation, just to name a few.

The GMMDA is a 501(c)(6) non-profit membership organization that represents the interest of over 200 minority-owned General Motors dealerships across the country. The mission of the GMMDA is to promote, protect and encourage the viability and profitability of all existing General Motors minority dealers and to encourage, through cooperative efforts with General Motors, the installation of new minority dealers in viable and profitable opportunities. In August 2007, the GMMDA celebrated 20 years of serving the GM minority dealer community.

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