Tex Earnhardt, founder and CEO of Earnhardt Auto Centers, was raised on a ranch in the Rio Grande Valley of Southern Texas. In 1951 when he was twenty years old, he and his family moved to Chandler where his father, Hal Earnhardt, Senior, started a small gas station downtown.
The service station provided a small income for his family by selling gas and auto parts. Through hard work and dedication, Tex was soon awarded a Ford franchise at the age of 21, he was then the youngest Ford franchise owner in the U.S.
As Earnhardt Ford grew, Tex developed a relationship with Lee Iacocca, then a corporate manager for Ford. When Lee accepted the position of CEO for the Chrysler Corporation in the early 1980s, he personally flew to Phoenix and asked Tex to become a franchise owner for Chrysler. Tex, with his keen intuition and respect for Iacocca, accepted the Chrysler franchise and was soon open for business at Baseline and Rural in Tempe. Thereafter, Tex acquired several more automobile franchises and he became widely known for his great deals and as the cowboy car dealer who rode a bull in his commercials. Tex’ trademark slogan “that ain’t no bull” was the ultimate truth in advertising. The “bull” he rode in the commercials was really a steer.
Tex’ sons, Hal and Jim Babe, eventually joined him in the business as did later, his grandsons, Dodge, Derby, and Bull. Together the Earnhardt family is at the helm of one of the southwest’s largest automotive empires. Where family-owned and operated automotive companies are a rarity in this market, the Earnhardt family is at their dealerships daily and personally oversee its operations.
There are nearly 1,500 employees at Earnhardt Auto Centers and the Earnhardt family’s dedication to the well-being of their employees is legendary. In hundreds of cases they have personally lent moral and financial support to employees who were facing an illness or family tragedy. Various charities and needy causes have also benefited from the Earnhardt’s philanthropy. Inspired by the Earnhardt family, many of their employees participate in a company charity program called H.E.A.R.T., whereby individual donations are deducted from their paychecks and given to a different charity each month.
Since 1951, the Earnhardt family has been selling cars and trucks to people across the southwest United States and will continue to do so for many years to come. Although times have changed, what has never changed is the Earnhardt commitment to world class service, famous low prices and the best selection of America’s most popular vehicles. Earnhardt’s — it’s a name you can trust and that ain’t no bull.