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Steering DriveTime’s growth curve

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Albuquerque native Jason Garcia has advanced to DriveTime’s national sales manager. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

Albuquerque native Jason Garcia has advanced to DriveTime’s national sales manager. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

You could say Jason Garcia is a local boy made good.

A graduate of Sandia High School and the University of New Mexico, Garcia has shot up the corporate ladder at DriveTime as fast as one of his jumpers he launched while playing prep basketball for the Matadors.

Although he worked for a couple of new-car dealers in Albuquerque while in college, it wasn’t what Garcia thought he wanted to do.

But he interviewed with DriveTime during a job fair at UNM and he was intrigued by the company’s sales manager-in-training program.

“That was something that interested me,” Garcia said. “I knew I didn’t want to sell cars the way I had done it. The traditional way of selling cars is so different than the way it’s done at DriveTime.”

He quickly moved into a sales manager position then into the general manager’s slot in one of Albuquerque’s three dealerships. He and his family soon moved to Tucson to be become market manager for the city overseeing its dealerships, then took on the same challenge in Phoenix.

After several years in the Valley of the Sun, family circumstances forced Garcia to come back home, where he became a store general manager and again became the market manager when that job came open.

And now he’s the national sales manager, helping oversee not only interactions between the regional managers, market managers and corporate administration, he’s helping administer the company’s leadership programs necessitated by its strong growth curve.

“We need more leaders to help with the growth,” Garcia said.

The company has 117 outlets across the country but should be up to 125 by the end of the year, he said.

“We’re having a very big year,” Garcia said.

Some of that success can be attributed to a relatively new lease program called Driver’s Seat, he said. With a low down payment and the ability to cancel without penalty at any time, it’s a nice fit for first-time buyers, Garcia said.

“That’s a great benefit,” he said.

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