Tex Earnhardt, founder 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, AZ where his father, Hal Earnhardt Sr., started a small gas station downtown.
The service station provided a small income for his family by selling gas and auto parts. At the age of 21, Tex was awarded a Ford franchise; making him 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 Mr. Iacocca accepted the position of CEO of Chrysler Corporation in the early 1980s, he personally flew to Phoenix and asked Tex to become a Chrysler franchise owner. Tex accepted the Chrysler franchise and was soon open for business at Baseline and Rural in Tempe.
Tex became widely known as the Cowboy Car Dealer with the great deals. In his commercials, Tex would sit astride a steer and proclaim his trademark slogan, “That ain’t no bull!” – the ultimate truth in advertising.
Tex’ sons, Hal and Jim Babe, eventually joined him in the business as did his grandsons, Dodge, Derby, and Bull. Together the Earnhardt family is at the helm of one of the Southwest’s largest automotive empires. The Earnhardt family is at their dealerships daily and personally oversee its operations.
There is no other organization in Arizona more synonymous with automobiles than Earnhardt. The Earnhardt brand recognition, hometown family values, and world-class customer service has sustained the company for over 70 years; catapulting it from a one car dealership to a 17 location empire (and growing). Throughout the years Earnhardt has embraced change within the automotive industry, as well as advancements in technology and how people buy cars. One thing that has stayed the same, and has helped Earnhardt stay at the top of their game, is their commitment to providing the best experience for their customers and employees.