Ten years ago, Adam Kovacs didn't speak English and, Today he owns several pieces of it and has managed to ride a German penchant for hard work and financial prudence safely through the storm of the worst financial crisis in 75 years.
Not only that, but he's done it with a business built servicing Audi & VW's and selling pre-owned luxury vehicles symbolized by a Audi R8 parked on his showroom floor.
In a year when many major American dealerships had to close and the auto industry as a whole was on the rocks, Kovacs has stayed afloat with a formula based on prudence, patience and building honest, up-front relationships.
"Buying a car is how we get started," "Servicing the car becomes the relationship.
In Marin, in San Rafael is where Adam with Kovacs Motors first planted the seeds of his American dream. Adam came to America in 2001 in the shadow of 9/11. The terrorists came and the twin towers fell, starkly displayed on German TV, right after Adam had quit his job, right after he and his wife had sold virtually everything they owned and were preparing to fly to the country suddenly under attack.
He was just 23, they had two children and, with the rest of the world, they watched TV all week. Finally they decided America was as safe as anywhere, maybe safer in the aftermath of the attack, and so they came. With a master's degree in mechanical engineering Adam had a job waiting at a Marin auto dealership specializing in Audi and Volkswagen. He didn't know the language but he knew how to fix the cars, and he excelled.
He put in a very hard year, rose to the top, began making some serious money working "extremely hard and fast, because that's how he was trained."
Within a couple more years, he struck out on his own and opened an independent service shop in San Rafael, while continuing to live in the Sonoma Valley, the place he and Evelyn chose to call home.
Paying off the start-up loan for his Marin shop in the first year, Adam began making a profit, expanded, hired more people, then noticed the used-car lot on Sonoma Highway across from Maxwell Village. He bought it, began selling mostly high-end used German cars and in September opened a service bay to care for the cars he sells in Sonoma.
The Kovacs secret to success could have been written by Andrew Carnegie or Napoleon Hill. It starts with reputation. "Reputation," he says, "is everything. It's the planting of seeds. What is carrying us right now is 70 to 80 percent reputation. Word of mouth. It keeps us alive."
Then there's the fact that Adam is "truly, truly a hands-on owner. He's fully educated in every level of the company that requires a certain amount of expertise. DMV issues, financing, mechanical/technical. Everything that has to be done, he and his Team can do."
Loyal employees, are another part of the equation.
Kovacs Motors keeps the overhead down by having the owner, Adam work himself, and by not incurring unmanageable debt.
Audi and VW is our forte !
Kovacs Motors has used a S4 as a promotion during races at Infineon where Kovacs Motors has had a booth. He is now race-preparing the highly-modified Audi S4 to run in the NASA race series with local driver Mike Baskin.
Kovacs Motors has a car lot, studded with Audis, BMWs, a Mercedes, a Mini, a Volkswagen.
With a lot full of shiny but affordable dream cars, an aura of Germanic competence, and a reputation he relentlessly polishes, Kovacs Motors may have a formula for great Service.
Kovacs Motors is also a proud platinum sponsor of the Audi Club Golden Gate