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Benton nominated for 2024 Time Dealer of the Year

An Alabama businessman has been nominated for one of the automobile industry’s most coveted awards.

Dale Benton, president of Benton Nissan of Hoover, will be traveling to Las Vegas and competing against 49 other nominees from throughout the U.S. for the 2024 Time Dealer of the Year award at the 107th annual National Automobile Dealers Association Show in February. The award is given to the country’s most successful auto dealers who have also shown a commitment to community service.

Benton, the only nominee from Alabama, discussed the significance of the industry for him personally.

“The automotive industry has been the vehicle for me to achieve the American Dream,” he said. “The most rewarding part of my career has been building a business that makes a difference in our communities. It is also a privilege to provide a place where employees are proud to work.”

He also described some of the early days in his new field.

“I had never really sold anything but, nonetheless, after one week of training, my new employer told me to get to work,” he said. “When not helping a customer, I would sweep floors, pick up cigarette butts, or do whatever it took to stay actively engaged.

“It was important for me to work at each position as if my name was on the building.”

In 2010, Benton invested his family’s life savings to partner in a Nissan store in Oxford. He eventually bought out his partner and has since added three Nissan dealerships to his Benton Auto Group portfolio with two in Alabama and one in Tennessee.

“I could not have achieved this dream without Victoria and the sacrifices we made together,” he said. “Not everyone is willing to take the risk or do what is necessary to be successful. My career path was not a straight line, but each step brought me closer to my goal and strengthened my resolve.”

Benton founded the annual Benton Nissan Bass Fishing Tournament to benefit King’s Home, which serves youth, women, and children fleeing abuse, neglect, or homelessness across Alabama. He is a major benefactor of the Foundry Ministries in Bessemer and his employees fill backpacks with essential supplies for the company’s annual Backpack & School Supplies Giveaway which helps children in need.

“Investing in the community and helping others is good for business, but when it comes from the heart, it is contagious and creates a culture of generosity,” he said. “When you are part of something bigger than yourself, it feeds the soul and gives life more purpose.”

Time CEO Jessica Sibley spoke about her company’s award.

“At Time, we are proud to uphold the decades-long tradition of honoring automotive dealers who make a positive impact and show dedication to their communities through our Time Dealer of the Year award,” said Sibley.

“We are excited to keep this tradition of applauding these community contributions together with our partners at Ally.”

Benton was nominated for the Time Dealer of the Year award by Thomas R. Dart, president of the Automobile Dealers Association of Alabama.

“Auto dealers nominated for the Time Dealer of the Year award have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to not only the industry but to their respective communities through volunteerism, sponsorships, and supporting charitable causes, no matter the market climate,” said Doug Timmerman, president of dealer financial services, Ally. “Whether their clients are purchasing a first car or upgrading for a growing family, these selected dealers have successfully extended their relationships beyond the showroom and have been steadfast in driving their communities forward.”

Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.

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