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Jim Burke Ford Lincoln is a 3 rd generation family-owned and operated dealership in Bakersfield, CA. But the dealership has actually been around much longer than that… Over 100 years in fact!
Back in 1913, the same year that the first Model T assembly line appeared, George Haberfelde opened Haberfelde Ford in Downtown Bakersfield. In addition to operating a successful car dealership in those early years, George Haberfelde was also extremely invested in the community and served as the Mayor of Bakersfield from 1923-1924. Fast forward to 1964, Jim Burke, who had already been working in the Haberfelde Ford Parts Department since 1948, joined the Haberfelde Family as a partner in the company and served in that roll until 1972 when he purchased the remaining shares of the company from the Haberfelde Family and became the sole owner. Despite the change in ownership, the spirit of family and company culture established by Haberfelde was still deeply engrained in the dealership. And while the company
name did eventually change to Jim Burke Ford in 1977 when it moved to its current location on Oak Street, the dealership’s official corporation name remained to be Haberfelde Ford and is still as such even to this day.
In August 1985, Jim Burke bought the Kitchen Boyd Lincoln Mercury dealership which was moved to a new facility in the Bakersfield Automall just two years later. And as the market grew for Ford products, by 2004 the company also expanded into the Automall with its second Ford store. Throughout all the business growth, Jim Burke continued the tradition of staying involved with the community through a wide variety of philanthropic efforts, most notably his establishment of the Ford Dimension student leadership program in 1975 which is still around today.
Though Jim Burke died in July of 2006, memories of him are still held near and dear to the many employees that worked with him. Everyone has a favorite story about Mr. Burke.
Jim Burke served as the company president for 21 years. In 1993, Jim Burke’s son-in-law, Dan Hay took over as the president of Jim Burke Ford and served in that role for the next 27 years, much of that time working side by side with Jim Burke. Perhaps Dan Hay’s biggest contribution and legacy at the dealership was to build the company culture up to what it is today. During his time as president, he focused on developing customer and employee experience and worked hard to make it more cohesive. Dan believed in it. And because of that passion, he transformed the company by establishing the culture that Jim Burke employees know and love today.
In August of 2020, Dan Hay transitioned to the role of company chairman with his oldest son, Joe Hay, taking over the helm as president. This change not only marked the company as a 3rd generation family-operated business, but it also set up the company well for the foreseeable future in the fast-evolving automotive industry.
The thing that sets Jim Burke apart is that there has always been a high priority put on relationships more so than simply being a transactional business. As electrification becomes more and more the norm, many of the old ways of the business will change but the need for human relationship never will. Jim Burke Ford’s customers are not just in search of cars and car repairs but rather a trusted partner that will help them to solve their problems. People have assets, but they need a relationship to fix them. That’s something Jim Burke Ford always has and always will provide.