Irma Elder: Business knowhow, ‘thinking of others’

By 2008, just before the start of the Great Recession, Elder Automotive operated 11 dealerships in Michigan and Florida, representing Aston Martin, Ford, Land Rover, Lincoln, Jaguar, Mercury, Saab and Jeep brands. And in the late 1990s and early 2000s, her Jaguar of Troy store in Michigan was the highest-volume Jaguar dealership in the U.S.

In 2008, she told Automotive News that the family-owned business had weathered several business storms over the years such as in the early 1980s when interest rates surpassed and hovered around 20 percent and when there were strikes at Ford Motor Co. and “we were out of cars.”

Elder was born in Xicoténcatl, Mexico, and didn’t speak English when she arrived in Florida as a teenager with her family in 1946, according to a biography she sent to Automotive News in 2000 and Elder Automotive’s website.

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