By Meredith Knight
When Elizabeth Samuel extols the virtues of a Kia vehicle, she knows more than most what she’s talking about. Not only has she been associated with the Joe Myers Auto Group since the 80s, but Elizabeth and her husband, Ralph, longtime managing partner and general manager of this premier Houston dealership, have traveled to South Korea many times. There they observed first-hand the precision, quality, and design that goes into any Kia vehicle. They’ve even been present during the initial design phase of many of them. It’s given the two a unique perspective on the business and the exciting new products Kia now has available. “The Telluride, Carnival, and Seltos, among others, are already in high demand and winning acclaim from industry experts,” Elizabeth said.
During their several trips to Korea, Elizabeth and Ralph have toured Kia factories, headquarters, and the design center and traveled extensively throughout the country. Not one to do anything halfway, Elizabeth even taught herself to speak some Korean — not an easy feat — to demonstrate respect for the Korean culture and serve as an ambassador for Joe Myers Imports whenever she’s in the country. Elizabeth even met with the president of KIA. “It’s a real asset for our company to have the opportunity to talk with Kia’s executives,” she said. “I also enjoy meeting with their design team, where I can share some of my own insights into the Texas market. Texan women, in particular, like a little flair in their vehicles.”
Elizabeth, a Katy High School graduate, has deep roots in the community, and her passion for the automotive industry was awakened at an early age. “I’ve always been interested in cars, even as a kid,” she said. “My dad taught me how to change oil and tires, and although I didn’t realize it at the time, it sparked a lifelong infatuation with all things automotive.” This ever-growing passion propelled her to achieve Salesperson of the Year and be promoted to the business director position with Joe Myers, not long after entering the automotive retail business many years ago.
Since then, the dealership has become a bit of a family affair, with one son, Sean, taking on a general sales manager role, and another son, Nick, being the pre-owned sales director. Each plays a key role in the business’s success. Her youngest son, Greg, has been involved in the business since he was in high school, too.
In fact, a big part of the dealership’s success over the years has been due to their advertising strategy and Greg played a big part in that. Many years ago, he and his dad, Ralph, created the iconic “Dealbuster” character that crushes high prices. Over the past 15 years that Dealbuster has become synonymous with Joe Myers Imports in the local advertising arena. Their TV commercials, billboards, and other media have garnered numerous awards over the years, as some of the most memorable automotive TV advertising in the Houston market.
And a Family of Associates
“We’re proud of all our employees,” Elizabeth said. “We believe in team-building and in being inclusive with our staff. And I get to do all the fun stuff!” She’s talking about many dealership-sponsored events for their associates and their families, such as attending Astros, Rockets, Dynamo, and Texans games, an annual customer appreciation crawfish and shrimp boil, picnic cookouts for customers and associates, showroom luncheons, and holiday events, including their annual Christmas party. Many of their associates have been with them for over a decade, rare in the auto industry. Most of the managers in the company started in entry-level positions and advanced through the ranks.
And the Awards Keep Coming!
Elizabeth is excited about the 25 Year Dealer Service Award the dealership recently received from Kia. As the Kia brand has expanded and grown during these years, taking its place as a major player in the automotive industry, the award-winning designs and quality have stolen loyal customers from other brands and converted them to Kia fans.
There For You
Since automotive dealerships were designated essential businesses in the early days of the pandemic, Joe Myers Kia’s employees have remained on the job in the sales, service, and parts departments six days a week. “Our associates’ attention to detail and adherence to safety guidelines during these unprecedented times has really helped us get through,” Elizabeth said.
“Being fully engaged at the dealership is so rewarding for me,” Elizabeth added. “Many of our associates have been with the dealership for over a decade, growing along with us over the years. Interacting with our sons, Nick and Sean, is an added blessing. Both boys started in entry-level positions while they were still in high school. And this dealership has been a big part of this family’s lives.”
Philanthropy and Leadership
Elizabeth is well known as a community leader undertaking many charitable endeavors. Joe Myers Kia is involved in a variety of efforts with children’s charities and those struggling with homelessness. Elizabeth and family are also involved in the Greg Samuel Everyday Hero Foundation self-funding and facilitating random good deeds around the community. “Through the foundation, we share random acts of kindness with those less fortunate, and every winter we organize a blanket and jacket drive,” Elizabeth says.
If you’re in the market for a new or quality pre-owned vehicle, visit Joe Myers Imports where Elizabeth and the Samuel family have been there to serve you since the 1990’s. Joe Myers Kia is the longest- tenured Kia dealership in Houston and one of the longest-tenured in Texas and the United States. The team gets the job done with consistent customer satisfaction achievements and for this reason, they remain as one of the highest volume dealers as well. Stop by Joe Myers Kia to help them celebrate the grand opening of their new state-of-the-art facility and begin your long-term relationship with Joe Myers Kia.
16484 Northwest Freeway
Highway 290 at Beltway 8
Houston, Texas 77040