Morehart Murphy Regional Auto Center
Jim Morehart was 16 when he began working at Morehart Chevrolet during the summers. In his senior year at the University of Colorado, his father passed away, and Jim dropped out of school to work full time, then later finished his bachelor’s degree at Fort Lewis College.
He was fortunate his father had many loyal employees and dealer friends who helped him those first few years, because Jim took over the business at 22. His father’s underlying philosophy of life and business was “treat your fellow man with dignity and respect,” advice Jim has followed his entire career.
Jim is proud to have 51 years in this business and for being able to raise his family in Durango. To survive the Great Recession, Jim and GM Jeep dealer Pat Murphy merged their dealerships on January 1, 2009 and became Morehart Murphy Regional Auto Center franchised to sell Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Ram, Jeep, Dodge, Chrysler and Subaru.
With the dedication of their employees and business partner Greg Rowland, the business has thrived and continues expanding with a newly completed Subaru facility.
The many changes that have occurred in his 51 years include the number and variety of products offered by domestic and foreign manufacturers; vast improvements in vehicle safety, emissions, technology, quality and reliability and a focus on the customer experience.
Challenges going forward include continuing to meet growing customer expectations, navigating the digital world, satisfying manufacturers’ requirements and the emergence of major online retailers into the automobile business.
Because an automobile dealership incorporates all business disciplines under one roof — marketing, sales, service and financing — Jim believes no other trade performs all of these business disciplines. He feels it is what makes the automobile business a challenging and exciting business model.
Jim owes much of his success to his loyal customer base in Southwestern Colorado, and will continue to support the community through his focus on education, youth, health care and human services. Jim was Colorado’s nominee for the 2004 TIME Dealer of the Year award. He is honored to be included in the inaugural class of the Colorado Automotive Hall of Fame.
Married for 50 years, Jim and Jane have three daughters, and their families all reside in Durango.