Meet Our Owners

David Wilson

Owner

A graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, David has been involved in the automobile industry for nearly 40 years. He was vice president /general manager of Covey Lincoln Mercury in Phoenix, Arizona, for five years before coming to Toyota of Orange in 1982. Before buying out the owner of Toyota of Orange in 1985, he was the vice president and general manager. Mr. Wilson is now the owner and president of sixteen automobile dealerships - employing nearly 2000 people. Sales for these corporations now total just under $2 billion annually, making the Wilson Automotive Group one of the ten largest dealership chains in the nation.

As a 1999 Governor Davis appointee, David continues to serve on the California New Motor Vehicle Board. as its immediate past president. Other Boards of Directors on which David has served are the American International Automobile Assn., California Motor Car Dealers Assn., Orange County Motor Car Dealers Assn., and the Southern California Toyota Dealers Advertising Assn. He has also been a member of the Board of Directors for the Orange Chamber of Commerce and was selected Business Person of the Year by them for 1987. He received the Sports Illustrated Dealer of Distinction Award in 1988, and the Time Magazine Quality Dealer Award in 1991 and again in 2004. In 1998 he was presented with the A.I.A.D.A. All-Star Dealer Award for his commitment to the community and work with charitable organizations. A panel of community leaders named David one of 10 "Local Heroes" in 1998. In June 2000 he was awarded the prestigious Passkey Award for Business Ethics by the Ralph W. Leatherby Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Ethics. Also in 2000 he received the Boy Scouts' "Good Scout Award" for exceptional community service. In 2001, Chapman University honored him as Orange County's Outstanding Corporate Citizen at their annual American Celebration. He was also named the YMCA Orange County Executive of the Year in 2005, and received the Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award from the Orange County Business Journal in 2007. Most recently, he was presented with the General William Lyon Crystal Vision Philanthropy Award in October, 2007.

David is honored to have been elected to the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans. He was inducted into the Association at the Fifty-Eighth Annual Horatio Alger Awards and Induction Ceremony in Washington, DC in April 2005.

Philantropy

David and Toyota of Orange were the originators/sponsors of the 'Round Orange Race, a 10K/5K run with nearly 4,000 participants annually that raised over $250,000 for Orangewood Children's Foundation. That race has since become a signature homecoming event at Chapman University, the Chapman University/Toyota of Orange 'Round Orange Race, which raises scholarship funds for worthy Chapman students.

Mr. Wilson is a member of the prestigious Chapman University Board of Trustees. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Orange County Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and is the Chairman of their annual golf tournament, which raises nearly $200,000 annually for Scouting. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Orangewood Children's Foundation and was the honoree for their Orange Blossom Ball, which raised over $300,000 for the foundation. In appreciation for David's generosity to his employees and the community, the David Wilson Endowment Fund was established by his employees and friends to benefit Orangewood. This fund now contains nearly $1,000,000 and enables worthy former residents of the Children's Home to obtain a post-secondary education they would not otherwise be able to afford. Currently a number of Orangewood alumnae attend college and trade or technical schools as a result of this endowment. In 1999 David contributed $1,000,000 to his alma mater, the University of Northern Iowa, to endow a Chair in Business Ethics. If you visit Chapman University in Orange, you will see Wilson Field, made possible by David & Holly's generous donation.

AJ D'Amato Jr.

President

With a career in the automobile business that spans four decades, Anthony J. D'Amato, Jr. joined the sales force at Toyota of Orange in 1976, just three years after embarking on his chosen career at a local Costa Mesa dealership. During his 13 years at Toyota of Orange, A.J. was promoted from sales to new car manager and, ultimately, to general manager in 1987. That same year, Lexus awarded David Wilson (then owner of Toyota of Orange) the nation's first Lexus franchise and David named A.J. president and partner of the new Tustin Lexus dealership.

AJ's long-time partnership with David Wilson continued with the acquisition of Weir Canyon Honda and Weir Canyon Acura in 2001. Under A.J.'s experienced leadership the two dealerships have been completely remodeled, won numerous customer satisfaction awards and has exceeded $803 million in sales.

In 2006 AJ and partner David Wilson opened the country's most luxurious Lexus dealership, Newport Lexus.

Born and raised in Long Beach, California, A.J. began his automotive career right out of high school. He is a past president for both the Orange County Auto Dealers Association and the Tustin Auto Center Association. In addition, A.J. served 6 years on the Lexus National Dealer Council as the Lexus Western Area's Dealer Council Representative.

A.J. and his wife, Joni, reside in Corona del Mar. He has three adult children: Anthony John D'Amato III, Joseph Andrew, and Alexis Allyn. He also has three grandsons: Nicholas, Cash, and Mason.

Questions?
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