What is your “Why Audi”?

Anyone who knows me knows that I have been into cars since I was very young.  If I was to reach way back in my memory, it probably started with my father’s bright red 1974 Camaro (yes, that’s right, I actually grew up in a GM family).  I remember the loud exhaust, the 4-speed manual shifter, and the 8-track cassette player that seemed to always be playing Gary Puckett.  I was born in 1982 so by the time I was old enough to remember any of this, this car had really been put through its paces.  Even still, it was always exciting anytime my brother and I got to climb in the Medium Red Coupé with 4 on the floor.

Fast-forward to my teenage years and it was the Fast and the Furious and import tuner craze that really grabbed my attention and drew it further into the automotive industry.  Bright colored paint jobs and custom stereo systems that could be heard from blocks down the road, and letting everyone know that you lived YOUR life a quarter mile at a time, no matter what you drove.  The “go fast” was attractive, but what interested me most were the looks and the sound.  Taking large LCD screens and big subwoofers coupled with amplifiers with enough wattage to power your house and building it into a vehicle to look no different than if the manufacturer had done it themselves, but better.  To me, the artistic expression of who you were was spelled out in what you created in what you were driving.

While attending Purdue University I worked at a local Best Buy and found myself taking my first steps into the automotive industry by installing car stereos and speakers.  Though creating a great deal of basic know-how of not only mobile electronics installation but also of vehicles in general, I was still craving to create and change or improve these vehicles I was working on in a much more drastic way.  It’s strange how things work out sometimes, as I was able to acquire much more than just the basic knowledge to replace a broken head unit in an old pick-up while working in that install bay.  While there, the supervisor that I worked under shared this same passion for custom audio and video modification and had a great deal of knowledge on the matter.  I was able to not only learn but form relationships with the team there in that install bay that would mold me in my professional life as well as my personal life.

A few years pass by and I found myself in Los Angeles, California in the most unlikely of scenarios.  You see, those connections and friendships that I had made while working at Best Buy had carried me all the way across the country, from Lafayette, Indiana, to a brand new custom car shop that was built and hosted a very popular television show called Pimp My Ride.  Looking back on it now, this was one of those situations where you almost have to pinch yourself to really see if this is happening.  Now, I was not a cast member nor someone that you would regularly see on the show (every now and then you might catch a glimpse of a heavier set guy with a medium sized curly Afro sliding a piece of MDF through a table saw, that was me).  I didn't care about that.  Don't get me wrong, it was REALLY cool to be able to go around and tell people that I was involved with a TV show that was popular at the time.  But what was even better were some of the vehicles that I had the opportunity to work on.  These were cars that as a young teenager, you wouldn't begin to dream to do anything to because they were already perfect!  But believe it or not, you can improve the stereo system in an Aston Martin Vanquish, there are those that want/need a remote start in a Ford GT, and you'd be surprised at how big of a subwoofer you can get into the back of a Porsche 911 Turbo.  I mean, these were cars that I dreamed of!  Not by any stretch of my imagination did I really ever see myself being around them on a regular basis let alone taking them apart and undoing what a brilliant engineer with twice the brain power that I have, thought up in the first place.  It was a truly remarkable experience!

Certain circumstances brought me back to the mid-west and where I started my career in the automotive field, Lafayette.  After brief stints at various small "mom and pop" shops, I was brought in with another one of my professional acquaintances, to a dealership.  Mike Raisor Pontiac-Isuzu in June of 2007.  The Mike Raisor Automotive group, at the time, dealt vehicles from several different franchises, including Audi.  We had started a custom division of the auto-group to provide similar services (all-be-it on a much lesser scale) to the one provided by the shop I had recently been with in LA.  Customer comes in to purchase a new vehicle, maybe wants a custom pin stripe or upgrade on the sound system, no problem!  We could do it all in house.  Everything from satellite radios to full body kits to motor swaps, we could do it all!

Enter Audi...

(I am hoping you have stuck around to this point as it has taken me a bit to get to the "why")

The fall of 2007 introduced to me something that changed me.  I remember when they pulled it over to the shop at the back of the dealership.  The headlights!  Oh man, those LED daytime running lights in the front!  This car was something else!  It was the new Audi A5.  Now, it's not like I was completely oblivious to the brand, I was a car guy.  There was a short time where I was convinced I was going to buy an RS4, however, this was different.  The lines of the car were just perfect.  The accents on the interior defined class and sophistication.  All of the shapes were so smooth and nothing was out of place.  The low roof height and wide stance was built to antagonize other sports cars on the road.  Wow!  I had spent, to this point, 6 years of my life finding things that either I did not like and felt that I could improve audibly or aesthetically, and here was this car that I felt was just perfect.  Now, I know that more than likely, a great deal of you who read this can find fault with any vehicle.  It doesn't matter if the car hails from Italy, Germany, Great Britain, ANYWHERE, most will find something off.  To me though, there was just so much beauty in this vehicle, I found it impossible to pick anything apart on it.

A few years later, I made the decision to try my hand at selling vehicles instead of working on them.  Whether it was due to the economy, location, or management, many of the ventures that I was a part of when working in the aftermarket/custom audio/video business failed or I decided to leave.  The demand for aftermarket modifications to vehicles was decreasing because manufacturers were putting these features on their new products from the factory.  Add in the impact of 2008 on not just the aftermarket industry but also the car business in general, and you have the recipe for unemployment.  I had to make a very difficult choice to leave what I loved doing, to return to Purdue to complete my degree.

Now the summer of 2010, I was getting married in just short of 2 months, and I needed to find some sort of work to hold me over until I could get enrolled back in school.  Re-enter the Mike Raisor Automotive Group.  I was hired as a salesman thinking, I will just do this for a few months to get some money together and then, starting in the Spring semester, get back in school.  What was supposed to be something temporary, turned into where I am at today.

After 5 years with our GM division (Buick, GMC, & Cadillac) and a short period of time in management at our Pre-Owned Center where I finally got the car that changed it all for me (not an A5 but an S5), I was offered the position to become the Sales Manager of the brand new Audi and Volkswagen store.  We have had the franchises for some time, however, this was a BRAND NEW, state-of-the-art dealership that was being built and scheduled to open within four months.  It was another one of those "pinch myself because, is this really happening?" moments.  I was a bit older so this move, although it wasn't all the way across the country, came with a bit more cautious optimism.  It was a brand that I didn't know that well, and I was going in only a few months after the news of the TDI situation had come out.  All of that being the case, I was still more than up for the challenge and wanted to see where we could go with this new store.

I remember the first thing that I did when Mr. Raisor told me that he wanted me to go ahead and get started getting to know the brand.  I visited one of the Audi training sites which had several videos going over not only the details about each model and tech that comes with it, but also the history of the brand and where it comes from.  It was the moment that I watched this video that I was certain I had made the right choice with being a part of this brand.  Everything that this brand represents is the success that has been built on trying times and a desire to make something better.  It was August Horch himself (founder of Audi) that said, "If it can be made by man, it can always be made better by man."  These words are why Audi continues to add to month over month success.  The drive of those that followed August Horch carried on the brand through all of the trials that should have put them out of business on the notion to make something that was made by man better.

That is my "Why Audi"!  I chose a profession very early on in my life based on the same ideal that I wanted to take something that was made by someone else and make it better.  I had a passion for creativity and building something with my own hands and putting that creativity into tangible reality.  Now, I get to tell people about the BEST product that is made, why it is the BEST, and how I know it is the BEST!  It is because those that are continuing to represent this brand, do so with the same vision.

I would love to share more with you and will try to do so on a regular basis.  If you ever want to stop in and see why myself and our staff are so passionate about these vehicles, please contact us and I will be more than happy to assist!  I thank you for your time!

Categories: People