FLIGHT TO FREEDOM
Mario Murgado’s story begins like many Cuban exile immigrants. He came to the U.S. alone in the freedom flights of 1966 – five days before his 4th birthday. His father joined him months later, but the short separation seemed endless to a toddler and marked him with a sharp commitment to family.
“That time made me grow up fast,” Murgado says. “That first separation from your father is huge.” He grew up in a Chicago suburb called Carpentersville, a Cubanito in the Midwest, and says it was the best thing that could have happened to him. “I just had some great experiences,” he says. “There is no place more wholesome, more special. I call it ‘Leave It To Beaver’ Country.”
WELCOME TO MIAMI
In 1978, his family moved to Miami and he graduated from Hialeah Miami Lakes High. Like many young Cuban boys, he dreamed of becoming a baseball player. Instead, he walked into the Braman Imports near Biscayne Boulevard one day in 1981 and got a job as a salesman.
“I loved cars even at a young age,” says Murgado, who today owns more than a dozen personal vehicles. He bought his first when he was in the 6th grade – actually, as translator for his father, who spoke no English. “He was the negotiator then. I was just the translator.”
Buying and selling the family vehicles must have laid the groundwork. Murgado was determined to work in the automotive business, but even back then before he became a success, Murgado was calling the shots: “I kind of interviewed the bosses where I wanted to work,” he says, with a smile.
Braman won because the dealer not only had Hondas and Toyotas, but also BMWs, Porches, Audis, Cadillacs, and Rolls-Royce vehicles. “It was an incredible selection of marquee brands," Murgado said. After a series of promotions over the next 12 years, he became president and managing partner at Braman Imports and Palm Beach Imports.
MURGADO AUTOMOTIVE GROUP
In 2001 Murgado took a chance and purchased the flagging Honda and Pontiac GMC dealerships in downtown Miami, quickly turning them around into top, national performers.
The rest is history.
For more than 20 years, Murgado has led Murgado Automotive Group with an entrepreneurial spirit while working in close connection to corporate giants like General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Audi, INFINITI, Bentley, Maserati, Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, and Volkswagen.
Murgado is active in numerous civic and community organizations. He currently serves as chairman of Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Board, the Board of Trustees for St. Thomas University in Miami, and many others. He is also the former chair for Mothers Against Drunk Driving Florida Council and has served as chair for the Young Presidents’ Organization Executive Board-Miami Chapter.
He has served as Chairman of the Florida Automobile Dealers Association and the American Honda National Dealer Advisory Board. He has also served as a member of the General Motors advisory boards for marketing and fixed-operations, is a member of the South Florida Dealers Association, and is also an AIADA Board member.