Our sister brand duPont Regsitry has been bolstering its masthead like the Golden State Warriors on draft day. We've already met two of the iconic marketplace's newest investors: Victor Gomez III and Barry Skolnick. The company recently announced a third – Ken Harte – who, in addition to becoming an investor, is also joining the team as General Manager responsible for automotive sales team and inventory management.
Harte spent three decades becoming one of the top salespeople for brands like Rolls Royce, Bentley, Bugatti, and BMW, He also spent nearly 20 years of his career in top management positions at the nation's leading luxury automotive dealerships. Considering the tech-focused trajectory of duPont Registry's future, Harte's intimate knowledge of dealer operations and prior experience with developing new technologies to improve the luxury sales experience will be a huge asset for this historic magazine that's poised to becomes a sprawling digital marketplace.
Steven Chapman, President of duPont Registry, told us: “Ken brings a wealth of experience from the dealer and operational side that duPont Registry will leverage to ensure that we deliver the level of experience that our customers expect from our brand.”
Continue reading for our interview of Harte to learn more about the newest shareholder and General Manager at duPont Registry, including his early days selling Cadillacs, the craziest car he ever sold, and why he joined the team at duPont Registry.
Motor1: How did you get started in the car dealership industry, and has it always been just luxury cars for you?
Harte: I began working in the car dealership industry in the early 1980s, exclusively for Cadillac. During the '80s, Cadillac was recognized as the pinnacle of automotive luxury. My experience at Cadillac laid the groundwork for the rest of my career in the luxury automotive market.
Motor1: What’s the automotive brand you’ve noticed has the most interesting clientele, and what made them interesting?
Harte: Each automotive brand has its own unique and diverse customer base. Bugatti, in my opinion, has the most fascinating clientele. I’ve noticed that Bugatti’s clientele are quite passionate about their automotive collections and have a strong interest in the arts.
Motor1: What sort of changes have dealerships, specifically luxury dealerships, experienced in the last 30-40 years? Were they good or bad changes?
Harte: I believe that technological advancements have contributed to the most significant change in luxury dealerships over the last 40 years. Customer service and sales procedures have improved as a result of innovative technologies, resulting in higher levels of customer satisfaction.
Motor1: If you had to sell people something other than luxury cars, what would it be?
Harte: If I had to sell something other than luxury cars, I'd pick art. In some ways, I already feel like I’m selling art when it comes to the level of craftsmanship, skill, and creativity that it takes to build and source a luxury automobile.
The first automobile I sold was a Cadillac Eldorado to an affluent family in Dallas, Texas.
Motor1: What attracted you to joining duPont Registry and investing in the company’s future?
Harte: I decided to join and invest in duPont Registry due to its global recognition in the automotive industry, brand history, and customer trust. When you say “duPont Registry,” that says it all. I'm ecstatic to be a member of the team and I'm looking forward to a promising future.
Motor1: Can you tell us anything about what we’ll see from duPont Registry in the near future?
Harte: Our goal with duPont Registry is to improve the automotive buying experience in the ultra-affluent ecosystem. To better serve our customers, we’ll be launching and introducing new offerings to simplify and streamline these processes.
Motor1: When did you first encounter duPont Registry as a magazine and what did you think of it at the time?
Harte: I initially discovered duPont Registry shortly after its first print issue was released back in the 1980s. The magazine automatically stuck out to me, since it was the first resource of its type where you could shop all things automotive, as well as source luxury vehicles. It soon became the most respected publication for affluent automotive consumers and aspirational buyers nationwide.
Motor1: Everyone wants to know, what does the person who sells luxury cars for a living drive himself? What’s your daily driver and why did you pick that car?
Harte: I've driven a variety of luxury vehicles from various manufacturers throughout the years, but my current daily driver is my Porsche Cayenne Turbo S Coupe. It’s a great driving car and I have really been enjoying driving it. Porsche launched the coupe version of the Cayenne in order to give it a sportier feel compared to other SUV utility vehicles on the market.
Motor1: Do you remember the first car you ever sold? How about the most memorable one you sold? Tell us those stories.
Harte: Yes, of course! The first automobile I sold was a Cadillac Eldorado to an affluent family in Dallas, Texas. As far as the most memorable car, I once sold a Rolls Royce Phantom, that was then stretched by an outside source, making the conversion upwards of one million dollars. Since, the car has been employed for significant occasions such as celebrity award shows.