Budjet Cars & KarMart
Michigan City Used Auto Dealer Surprises Some Through Passion, Commitment and Success
BY NIKKI ROBERT SINGLETON
Kevin Johnson started in the auto industry before it really set in that he was in it. Like many other auto dealers, Kevin followed in his father’s footsteps; and like many others, both his professional and personal lives have transformed around it.
His four children, Devin, Dustin, Demi and Dillon have also been raised inside of the car industry at some point or another; and, just as their father, three of the offspring (Devin, Dustin and Dillon) also work at Kevin’s company.
Kevin’s father, Ron Johnson, founded his new venture, Budjet Cars, in Michigan City, Indiana. “That was a long time ago,” Kevin recalls fondly. “I was naturally drawn to the business opened and ended up going to the lot almost daily. When my buddies were out at the movies or out with their girlfriends, I was hanging with the sales guys at the store. I didn’t realize that I was indirectly learning the ins and outs of what would soon shape the rest of my life.”
Ron had worked the business for years before Kevin really took an interest in taking things over. “At that time my dad didn’t seem too interested in any renovations or remodels for the location.” Kevin recalled. “He was pretty much content with keeping the business as it was. I literally begged him to add more cars to the lot or to just get new blacktop for the lot but I was never really successful in talking dad into those type of investments. It was just the way it was.”
After Ron passed away and Kevin found himself steering the ship, the younger Johnson didn’t waste a lot of time before instituting new programs and improvements. He shifted into overdrive and stepped on the gas. “what I did was to shine the place up and I gave it a total face-lift. Before long, the facility was transformed into an entirely new facility and workplace!” The next thing Kevin would do would be to increase inventory which obviously meant better selections and potentially more customers.
“If I could change one thing in this life, it would not be how I raised my kids
or me wishing that I had gone to
the gym more often than I did.
It would be to bring my father
back to life for just one more day.
Just one, so that he could see
what I’ve made of all of this;
made with everything
that he left to me.”