Car dealer, philanthropist Jim Moran dies

April 25, 2007 at 4:29 PM
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DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla., April 25 (UPI) -- James Moran, an innovative billionaire philanthropist and supreme Florida car salesman, has died at 88.

Moran died Tuesday in Deerfield Beach, Fla., where he built a Toyota dealership into an empire and helped talk U.S. motorists into buying Japanese, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel said.

He built an automobile empire ranked as the 18th largest privately held company by Forbes magazine with annual revenues of more than $11 billion.

JM Family's Southeast Toyota is the world's largest independent distributor of Toyotas.

As one of his friends said recently, "In Japan, they called him the engine that ran the train."

James Martin Moran was born on Aug. 8, 1918, in Chicago. Before moving to Florida he had a highly successful career in the Windy City where he heavily used television to promote Ford cars as Jim Moran the Courtesy Man.

A legendary pitchman, his catch phrase was, "Come on down, to Courtesy Ford."

He is survived by his wife, two daughters, a son, seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

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