Leonard R. Datello, Managing Member of Cumberland Auto Group in Millville, assumed the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers (NJ CAR) Chairmanship, effective November 1, 2018. He succeeds Robert J. Larson (Larson Ford, Inc.) as Chairman.
Mr. Datello began his automotive career as a mechanic at an independent repair shop in Staten Island, New York before entering the new car business as a Parts Department apprentice in 1989. He spent the next several years working in various parts and service positions, ultimately becoming a Fixed Operations Director at a Lincoln Mercury dealership.
In September 1998, he was awarded his first Hyundai franchise and opened Valley Stream Hyundai in Valley Stream, New York. He eventually partnered with his brother, Richard, and they added several New Jersey dealerships to their portfolio, including Action Auto Group- Flemington (Hyundai, Mazda, Nissan) in 2007; Cumberland Auto Group (Millville) in 2013 and Action Chevrolet (Freehold) in 2014. During the acquisition of the Flemington stores, Mr. Datello’s daughter, Breanna Datello Esquilin, joined the family business and ran the Fixed Operations Department at both the Nissan and Hyundai stores. The Flemington and Freehold dealerships were sold earlier this year.
“The greatest priority of every franchised automotive retailer is fairly serving ALL customers and guiding them through the complex car-buying process as seamlessly as possible,” said Mr. Datello. “We welcome every opportunity to better meet consumer expectations and actively embrace cutting edge market developments, such as the expanding variety of mobility options, as well as innovative safety and alternative fuel technologies. I look forward to working with my fellow dealers and our elected officials to ensure consumers continue enjoying the competitive intra and inter-brand pricing, easy access to warranty and safety recall services and many other benefits that are the hallmark of the motor vehicle franchise system.”
Mr. Datello was born and raised in Staten Island, New York and spent his early teen years in Georgia, where he developed his passion for cars. He returned to New York, graduated from Susan E. Wagner High School in 1984 and immediately went to work for his father’s Coca- Cola distribution business before moving into the automotive retailing industry.
Mr. Datello supports a variety of charitable organizations, including Hyundai’s Hope on Wheels program for pediatric cancer research. He and his wife of 28 years, Michelle, reside in Millstone, New Jersey.
NJ CAR’s 2018-2019 Senior Officers also include: Vice Chairman Scott R. Senior (Three County Volkswagen, Lyndhurst), Secretary Rob Sickel (Pine Belt Chevrolet, Lakewood) and Treasurer Judith A. Schumacher-Tilton (Schumacher Chevrolet of Denville, Denville).