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Family owned and operated since 1964, The McGrath Automotive Group iscommitted to providing excellent service around Chica...
refused to give him more SUVs until he was a Mercedes only dealer. Gary obtainedAudi to pair with the medium volume Acura ...
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McGrath Automotive Group History

This is the story of how McGrath Automotive Group began. The McGrath family is well known in Chicago for treating their clients with respoect. Our honest, low pressure approach is a staple at each McGrath location.

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McGrath Automotive Group History

  1. 1. Family owned and operated since 1964, The McGrath Automotive Group iscommitted to providing excellent service around Chicago. Now in its fourthgeneration, Shanna, Chris, and Dave all admire the courage and passion theirgrandfather had nearly a half a century ago. They plan to continue the family legacyas their father, Gary, did. The following is a story of how the family began and grewover the years.Grandfather, Leo, grew up with his family in Minnesota. His boyhood passion for airplanes led him to join the Air Force to fly P-51 fighter planes. He received theDistinguished Flying Cross for his heroic actions in World War II and Korean. Afterserving in the military, Leo looked to pursue his passion for automobiles. His fatherowned at small dealership in Minnesota, and with the experience he earned there,he was hired as a District Sales and Service Manager with The Buick Motor Division.After 12 years with Buick, Leo’s wife Jeanne and their eight children were tired oftheir life on the move. Leo realized he knew enough about dealership operation andwas ready to take the risk. In 1964, he put all of his earnings on the line andfounded McGrath Automotive Group. Leo purchased McBride Buick in downtownElgin allowing his true passion to become realized.No stranger to hard work himself, Leo sought to teach his boys the family business.Beginning in grade school Gary started working in his dad’s dealership. It beganwith washing cars, but as he gained experience, he was given more and moreresponsibility. Eventually he worked his way through all of the departments at thedealership. In 1971, Gary realized his dream when he purchased the family Buickstore from his father.Gary had larger dreams and in 1973 purchased the lot next to the Buick dealership.He took a risk of his own in opening his first Honda Franchise. These small carswere very different from the large Buick and Cadillacs of that era, but offered greatgas mileage during the gas embargo of the early 1980s. They were a huge success!But he wasn’t finished there.Gary took a chance on another unknown at the time, Acura. Honda’s luxury brandwas the first of its kind. He was selected to be the 13th dealer in the country and in1986 opened its doors just north of the city in Glenview.A few years later he was offered another opportunity with General Motors in StCharles. Gary opened an Oldsmobile and GMC Truck point on Main St just east ofdowntown. Over the years he saw the phase out of Oldsmobile and the addition ofHonda, Buick, and then traded Nissan for Pontiac. By the late 1990s Honda wasready to venture out on its own. In 2001 Gary converted the gravel lot next doorinto the wonderful facility you see today.Audi, our latest addition, joined the family in a rather lucky way. The then lowvolume franchise was paired with a Mercedes Benz dealer in the north suburbs. MB
  2. 2. refused to give him more SUVs until he was a Mercedes only dealer. Gary obtainedAudi to pair with the medium volume Acura store in Glenview. He saw the potentialand within a few short years realized Acura and Audi were no longer the lowvolume, unknown vehicles of the past. In 2003 he built a stunning 90,000 squarefoot, three level building to house Acura just to the south in Morton Grove. Theoriginal 1986 building was refurbished the exterior to Audi’s Hanger Concept andcompletely changed the layout and design.After years of little facility adjustment, Gary headed the push to develop newproperty at the corner of Randall Rd and the I-90 expressway. Our original Hondastore on Chicago Street needed a significant upgrade. In September of 2009 our new100,000 square foot Honda facility opened its doors. The responses wereoverwhelming! Even Gary himself found it hard to believe we lasted so long in theold “Tiki Hut” styled building.Never willing to give up on his dreams, Gary weathered the 80s, through DesertStorm and several trying economic times. With strong leadership, loyal employeesand great products, the dealerships continue to flourish. New facilities will beneeded to better serve the growing customer base. The story of the AmericanDream coming to life right here in Chicago is far from over. Many generations tocome will continue to keep this dream alive!

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This is the story of how McGrath Automotive Group began. The McGrath family is well known in Chicago for treating their clients with respoect. Our honest, low pressure approach is a staple at each McGrath location.

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