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A new role for Frank Rozier
Ford dealer to lead Georgia dealers association
W BIZ ROZIER
Frank Rozier is shown at his dealership on Hwy 301 South. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff
      Local businessman Frank C. Rozier, III was recently named chairman of the board of the Georgia Automobile Dealers Association. Owner and president of Rozier Ford Lincoln-Mercury in Statesboro, the second-generation automobile dealer assumed the helm of the association at a time considered by many to be the most difficult ever faced by the industry he represents.
       "I have never seen anything like this," Rozier said. "Who would have thought that dealerships around the country would receive an overnight letter terminating their contract with their manufacturer? That has happened to a number of my colleagues. We, as an organization, need to be there for our fellow dealers regardless of whom they are affiliated with."
       Rozier began his career as a boy, working summers in his father's Ford dealership in Brooklet. He worked his way up to a number of positions, and after graduating from the University of Georgia, became a full-time dealership employee. He was with his father's company until 1983, when he purchased his own dealership on Highway 301 South from Curtis Youngblood.
       Rozier has served on the dealers association board of directors since 2000.
      "Frank is a committed member of the association and its board of directors," said association president Bill Morie. "His success in his dealership, his understanding of the automobile industry and willingness to work with and for GADA and his fellow Georgia dealers make him a strong and competent leader."
       The Georgia Automobile Dealers Association has more than 600 members representing a significant slice of Georgia's employment "pie". It is estimated that Georgia's auto dealers provide jobs for over 33,000 Georgia residents with an annual payroll of $1.65 billion. Georgia new car dealers' $20.7 billion in annual sales comprise 19.1 percent of total retail sales in the state.
       "I know that people don't realize how big our industry is sometimes, and just how many people it affects, but it does," Rozier said. "I feel very strongly that we really need to stand together as independent dealers, and try to make our voice heard as much as we possibly can. These are important and crucial times for all of us."
       Local General Motors and Toyota dealer Robbie Franklin supported Rozier's appointment and is very proud to have his good friend leading the association.
       "Frank is very deserving of this position," Franklin said. "He is a fine man and a good friend. I know that he will do a tremendous job over the next year."
       Like Rozier, Franklin is worried about the position in which domestic car dealers have been placed.
       "We need to get our strength back legally with the factories at least where GM is concerned," Franklin said. "Right now, we have lost a good bit of that, and I hope that we can get it back. In that effort, I know that Frank will represent all of us, not just his personal interest."
       Cleve White, owner of Cleve White Nissan in Statesboro, hopes that Rozier and the association can garner legislative support for some form of dealership protection.
       "We need some type of law to be passed to protect dealers particularly in small towns," White said. "We generate a tremendous amount of sales tax for communities in addition to being big supporters of local charities. Car dealers are noted for giving back to the community on a number of different fronts. I think Frank is a great guy with a tremendous amount of experience. He is a wonderful asset, and I hope that he is able to help all of us."
       Unlike General Motors and Chrysler, Ford has not terminated contracts with any of its dealers at this time. Although Rozier takes some comfort in recent sales numbers placing Ford at the top, he knows that his industry is not out-of-the woods yet.
       "Sure, I am happy that Ford's numbers are looking up," he said. "I certainly hope that trend continues. But, the reality is that no one is really sure where the market is going, and because of that, the GADA has a very important role to play. We have been bombarded with phone calls from dealers asking 'what to do'. This is truly a time to support one another."
       Rozier's family owns and operates Rozier Farms in Brooklet which specializes in raising cattle, growing corn, peanuts, cotton, and forestry. Currently, he serves in leadership capacities at the Farmers and Merchants Bank and the Atlanta Ford Dealer Advertising Board of Directors, and is involved with the Statesboro Chamber of Commerce and the Statesboro Rotary Club.
       He was named Statesboro Business Leader of the Year in 1998, and was inducted into the Southeast Bulloch Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000. Rozier and his wife Lenora Lanier Rozier have two daughters, Rindi Rozier Harbeson (Lawton Harbeson) and Cindi Rozier Hart (Andrew Hart). They have four grandchildren.