It is not uncommon for sons and daughters to follow in the footsteps of their parents when it comes to choosing their career. So, it should come as no surprise that Matt Rothwell is now helping run Sarnia’s Bayview Chrysler Dodge. “Bayview was the first place I ever worked, cutting lawns while I was in elementary school,” says Matt, the Dealer Principal/Managing Partner at Bayview. “My love for the car business and automotive business started here, just being around the employees.”

Bayview was founded in 1974 by Red Orr. “I came back to work at Bayview at the beginning of 2020 after having worked here as a kid in recon and in the parts department.” Matt’s dad, Doug, was hired as the Parts Manager in 1977 by Red. “My dad went on to work here for 43 years. Red’s sons, David, and Stephen Orr, are my partners now.” Red Orr ran the company until he turned it over to his sons, David and Stephen and Doug in the mid-90s. “Today, David and Stephen are still the owners, but now David’s sons Tom Orr and David Orr Jr. and myself run the dealership.”

Matt prepared himself for this opportunity at Bayview by first attending the automotive program at Georgia College and then getting a degree in automotive management at Northwood University. Following graduation, he worked the next 17 years at two Dodge Chrysler dealerships in Arizona and London, ON, before making the decision to return home. “I have always been close to the Orr family,” Doug says. “Tom and Dave and I consider each other family and we treat each other like brothers. The three of us have a huge appreciation for the opportunity we have to carry on the great tradition and put our own stamp on it.”

Since rising to the top, Matt and his partners have faced numerous challenges including the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequently inventory shortages. “We were fortunate that within 45 days of reopening, we had our full staff back,” Matt says. “Since then, we have been able to grow the business and actually increase the headcount. We still have inventory challenges and there are wait times – up to six-to-eight months – for vehicles that people are not accustomed to.” As the auto industry pivots towards electric cars, Matt says Chrysler has manufactured exciting hybrids such as the Wrangler 4XE and the new 4XE Cherokee. “Hybrids offer the best of both worlds and we’re looking forward to having them on the lot.”

Matt is having the time of his life working at Bayview. “It is really fun coming to work in an environment where the sales manager was a salesperson when I was growing up and our business manager has been here for 29 years and used to tease me in the showroom when I was a kid,” Matt says. “I want to stress the importance of the partnership between Tom and David and myself. I have the title of Dealer Principal/Managing Partner, but it is very much a partnership between the three of us as we move this business forward.”