Jim Hudson, founder and principal of Jim Hudson Automotive Group, has been presented with the Order of the Palmetto by Gov. Nikki R. Haley. “On behalf of the people of South Carolina, I am pleased to award Jim Hudson the Order of the Palmetto – our state’s highest civilian honor. This award is in recognition of his extraordinary work and dedication to the citizens of our state,” says Gov. Haley.
The Order of the Palmetto, first awarded in 1971, is considered to be the highest civilian honor and recognizes a person’s lifetime achievements and contributions to the State of South Carolina. Past recipients have included singer James Brown, author Pat Conroy, tap dancer Clayton “Peg Leg” Bates, Civil Rights activist Septima Clark, and many others including past governors.
A native of Turkey, N.C., Jim moved to Columbia in 1961, where he successfully built a portfolio of automotive dealerships known today as Jim Hudson Automotive Group. His dedication to customer satisfaction is indisputable. For ten consecutive years, his Columbia Lexus dealership has ranked number one or two in the nation for customer satisfaction. Hudson’s consistently high customer service rating was a major factor in Toyota’s selection process when it came time to award another dealership in Columbia.
Jim’s dealerships have received many awards, including the Lexus Elite highest honors for the past 10 years, the President’s Award highest honors for Toyota, and Cadillac Buick GMC highest award for Excellence. Automotive News recognized Jim Hudson Automotive Group as one of the top 125 dealership groups in the United States.
Jim has been active in industry organizations and has been an automobile dealer spokesman for political issues in South Carolina and in Washington, D.C. In 2008, he was the Chairman of the American International Automobile Dealers Association and lobbied in Washington for import dealers throughout the United States. Jim continues to be involved in lobbying on the behalf of small businesses not only in South Carolina, but nationwide.
Jim also has served on several dealer council boards for his franchises, advertising boards, SCADA (past president) and other state associations. He has received the Rotary Foundation President’s Award and is a Paul Harris Fellow. He has served as a member of the Chamber of Commerce board, Cultural Council board and Rotary Club. He has also served as a sponsor for such charities as Sunshine for Children, the Heart Association, the National Kidney Foundation, the Salvation Army and Woodyard Fund, the Oliver Gospel Mission, Meals on Wheels, Harvest Hope and the Boy Scouts of America Indian Waters Council.
Jim works with the state’s community colleges on automotive training and funds scholarships for high school seniors. He has been awarded number one new car dealer in South Carolina and voted number one by The State newspaper for the past 10 years. He has been featured in Time Magazine three different times and most recently in the September 2008 issue as the Time Magazine Quality Dealer of the Year. He has been awarded Motor Trend Quality Dealer of the Year and is listed in the Automotive Hall of Fame.
Jim’s commitment to his community has been demonstrated through acts of kindness in providing numerous cars and trucks to countless of families in need.
As a devoted Christian businessman, Jim is keenly aware of life’s trials and tribulations. That’s why Hudson Automotive Group has partnered with Corporate Chaplains of America to administer to the needs and fellowship on a voluntary basis to more than 500 employees at all his stores. All employees have access to a minister on a moment’s notice, a service that will always remain personal and confidential.
Among the most important things in Jim’s life is his family. He and Sybil, his wife of 49 years, have two sons, Ken and Keith, and six grandchildren.