The Luther Automotive Group

Under the radar, he helps others to succeed at Midwest’s largest VW store

“If there’s something that needs to be done, it’s very hard for me to ignore it,” said Leo Maruani. “That’s the way I am. That’s the way I’ve always been.”

“If there’s something that needs to be done, it’s very hard for me to ignore it,” said Leo Maruani. “That’s the way I am. That’s the way I’ve always been.”

Leo Maruani isn’t selling, fixing or maintaining automobiles, but Westside Volkswagen’s “go to” guy has his hands in dozens of other tasks, helping coworkers better serve the store’s guests, or serving them himself.

The service department team member assists and shuttles customers, helps with car rentals and jumps on numerous special projects.

Before coming to the dealership, he owned and managed properties, and had his own vending company.  People can call him anytime, and he often works in the background, he said, preferring to keep a low profile.
“He’s one of those guys who doesn’t say no to anybody.  It’s ‘What can I do for you?’ Whether it’s a customer, or not,” said Operations Manager Bob Cozatt.

Born in France and a three-year veteran of the Israeli Air Force, Maruani said he’s there to pick up any pieces for all store departments.  It’s not about telling people what their jobs are or directing them, he explains.  “It doesn’t matter to me, I just do it because it needs to be done.”

On an average day, he might be maintaining phone systems, handling IT equipment, training someone new, organizing special events, fixing a window, painting, maintaining the building, going to the bank or an auction, or tackling something new that he needs to figure out.

As he helps, he tries to not be an interruption.  “When I came here, I fell in love with this place,” said Maruani.  “They are great people to work with.”

After almost nine years at the store, he said he’s happy to be there and isn’t going anywhere.  “We have respect.  We give respect to everyone, and we get it back.”

General Manager Steve Hendricks said Maruani is extremely valuable, and that guest satisfaction is his top goal. “Rare and unique, that would be Leo.”

Ask Maruani if he’s charming and he won’t deny it.  That attribute comes in handy when a customer needs some extra attention and he is called in to smooth out difficulties.

“I’m just flexible, and use my personality,” he said.  “I can work with any kind of person.”

When Maruani took the initiative to train the new rental manager, his manager took note.  “He doesn’t have to do all that … it’s not like I say, ‘Leo, go do this.’  He’s going to take care of people and make them happy.  That’s Leo’s nature.”

“Driven to serve” could well describe this individual.  Now that’s a familiar theme.

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