Feb 022013

COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA (January 28, 2013) – Jim Hudson, founder and principal of Jim Hudson Automotive Group, and Charter Member (1981) of the Columbia East Rotary Club was recently presented with the coveted Order of the Palmetto by South Carolina Governor Nikki R. Haley.

Hudsons and Haley

Pictured from L – R:  Governor Nikki R. Haley with Sybil & Jim Hudson (Photo credit – Clark Berry Photography)

“On behalf of the people of South Carolina, I am pleased to award Jim Hudson the Order of the Palmetto – our state’s highest civilian honor.  This award is in recognition of his extraordinary work and dedication to the citizens of our state,” said Governor Nikki R. Haley.

The Order of the Palmetto is considered to be the highest civilian honor first awarded in 1971 to recognize a person’s lifetime achievements and contributions to the State of South Carolina.  Past recipients of the Order of the Palmetto include singer James Brown, author Pat Conroy, tap dancer Clayton “Peg Leg” Bates, Civil Rights activist Septima Clark, among many others including past governors.

A native of Turkey, North Carolina, Hudson moved to Columbia, South Carolina in 1961, where through hard work and experience, he successfully built a portfolio of automotive dealerships known today as Jim Hudson Automotive Group.

Hudson’s dedication to customer satisfaction is indisputable.  For ten consecutive years, 2001-2010, his Columbia Lexus dealership ranked number one or two in the nation for customer satisfaction.  Hudson’s consistently high customer service rating was a major factor in Toyota’s selection process when it came time to award another dealership in Columbia.

Hudson’s dealerships have received many awards, including the Lexus Elite highest honors for the past ten years, the President’s Award highest honors for Toyota, and Cadillac Buick GMC highest award for Excellence.

Among the most important things in Hudson’s life is his family.  He and Sybil, his wife of 49 years, have two sons, Ken and Keith, and six grandchildren.

Hudson believes it is important to monitor laws and proposed legislation that might affect the many employees of the automotive industry and their families.  “We must be one voice on the local and national level to protect our free enterprise system and the small business people of America,” he says.  Backing up his beliefs with action, Hudson has been active in industry organizations and has been an automobile dealer spokesman for political issues in South Carolina and in Washington, DC.  In 2008, he was the Chairman of the American International Automobile Dealers Association and lobbied in Washington, DC for import dealers throughout the United States.  Hudson continues to be involved in lobbying Washington, D.C. on the behalf of small businesses not only in South Carolina, but nationwide.

Hudson has served on several dealer council boards for his franchises, advertising boards, SCADA (past president) and other state associations.  He has received the Rotary Foundation President’s Award and is a Paul Harris Fellow.  In 30 years of membership, he has perfect attendance.

Hudson works with the state’s community colleges on automotive training and funds scholarships for high school seniors.  He has been awarded #1 new car dealer in South Carolina and voted #1 by the State newspaper for the past 10 years.  He has been featured in Time Magazine three different times and most recently in the September 2008 issue as the Time Magazine Quality Dealer of the Year.  He has been awarded Motor Trend Quality Dealer of the Year and is listed in the Automotive Hall of Fame.

He has served the Columbia community in many ways, including as member of the Chamber of Commerce board, Cultural Council board and Rotary Club.  He has also served as a sponsor for such charities as Sunshine for Children, the Heart Association, the National Kidney Foundation, the Salvation Army and Woodyard Fund, the Oliver Gospel Mission, Meals on Wheels, Harvest Hope, and the Boy Scouts of America Indian Waters Council.

Hudson’s commitment to his community has been demonstrated through acts of kindness in providing numerous cars and trucks to countless of families in need.

As a devoted Christian businessman, Hudson is keenly aware of life’s trials and tribulations.  That’s why Hudson Automotive Group has partnered with Corporate Chaplains of America to administer to the needs and fellowship on a voluntary basis to more than 500 employees.

At all his stores – over 500 employees have access to a minister on a moment’s notice, a service that will always remain personal and confidential.

As a result of Hudson’s leadership and the talented individuals that comprise his team, Automotive News Recognized Jim Hudson Automotive Group as one of the top 125 dealership groups in The United States.

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