Canada's Top 25 Immigrants 2016
When you see a used car salesman in a film or TV show, the depiction is usually less than flattering. That negative stereotype couldn't be further from the truth for Nasser Rad, CEO and president of Autorama, a pre-owned car dealership consistently voted best in Toronto.
“When I started Autorama, I wanted to be different and pioneered many great and positive changes in the industry,” says Rad. “Now I am at point in my life that I would like to inspire my two sons, my employees and those who look up to me. I want them to understand that honesty and integrity are keys to success.”
Rad's story, which started in Iran, is definitely an inspiring one. He had actually studied pharmacy at the University of Tehran, but fled to Canada as a refugee in 1991. He started post-secondary studies in science again, but too many barriers, including difficulties in financing his education, led him to change his course.
“Basically, I took a detour when I came to a roadblock,” Rad says.
Always passionate about cars, that detour saw him graduate with a certificate in used car sales and management from Wye Management's Automotive Career Centre and Georgian College's Automotive Business School of Canada. He then started working at a few dealerships, but soon realized that the used car industry needed a lot of changes. He had a vision for a new type of dealership, and Autorama was born in 2001.
It started as a small operation with one employee and minimum inventory. Today, Autorama is one of the largest pre-owned car dealerships in Toronto with more than 50,000 square feet of indoor showroom showcasing more than 200 high-quality cars at a time. The business has more than $20 million in annual sales.
Giving back to the community has also always been part of what Autorama does. In 2015, Rad and his team initiated Care to Share – Free Car for People in Need program.
“We provide free cars to individuals and families who are not able to find or continue their employment due to not having a car,” he explains. “ Having a free car changes their life and their perspective to life. We make a difference one car at a time and I would like to continue to do so!”
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