Celebrating 50 Years of Excellence

    Jim Ellis

About Mr. Ellis

Growing up, Jim Ellis was no stranger to hard work as he had many jobs he held all at once. He worked on a farm, had a milk and paper route, performed some construction, ran a concessions business at Grant Park, and ran a laundry route.

By the time he completed West Georgia College and Georgia State University in 1957 with a BBA in general management, he had worked as a prison guard and foreman; sold insurance, IBM Machines, and real estate; and held various other jobs to work his way through college. 

After returning from serving two years in the U.S. Army, Mr. Ellis went back to what he knew, holding a variety of jobs until he found his place in the automobile business with General Motors in 1960. During his tenure at General Motors, Jim was asked to relocate to the company's headquarters in Detroit, Michigan. Instead, he chose to continue raising his family in Georgia, and in 1965, Jim was hired at Chris Motors Volkswagen in Decatur.

The Beginning of Jim Ellis Automotive

In 1970, Jim Ellis and his wife Billie had an opportunity to establish their very own automobile dealership. They took the biggest financial plunge of their lives, sold several of their assets, used all of their savings, cashed in Billie's retirement fund from over 15 years at Georgia Tech, and borrowed the balance to begin Jim Ellis Volkswagen in 1971.

What began as a significant business risk turned into a growing and thriving business for the Ellis family over the years to follow. As a result, the Ellis family has been able to offer employment to thousands of Atlantans over the years and provide a business for future generations of the Ellis family to grow into and eventually manage.

   Jim Ellis VW Chamblee Groundbreaking - 1970   
Watch Our Iconic TV Commercial from the 1970s

    The Ellis Family    

Establishing a Family Culture

In more recent years, both Jim and Billie Ellis have stepped back from their active roles in the company while several family members still play an active role in the business, including three generations with responsibilities that are spread throughout the company. 

Their son, Jimmy Ellis, serves as the company president and CEO. Their daughters, Karen Ellis-Black and Kristi Ellis-Cohron both serve as corporate officers. 

Karen's daughter, Brooke Ellis-Gatlin, serves as vice president of human resources. Brooke's daughter, Ivie Gatlin, currently works at Audi Atlanta and is working towards a business management degree to further enhance her career with the company. 

Jimmy's daughter, Stacey Ellis-Hodges, serves as vice president of group support operations and corporate directors. Jimmy's son Wesley Ellis, serves as vice president of Jim Ellis Ford Sandy Springs, Jim Ellis Hyundai, Jim Ellis Genesis, Jim Ellis Volkswagen Atlanta and Jim Ellis Toyota of McDonough. 

Jim's niece, Mickey Patterson, and her sons Andrew and Chris Roper, also work for the company. The notion of family is engrained in the culture of Jim Ellis Automotive Group. 
Watch Our Newest TV Commercial

The Jim Ellis Promise

An important key to success for the family-owned business was the adoption of a simple selling philosophy - strive to treat every customer like they are family, also known as the Jim Ellis Promise. 

The Jim Ellis Promise is simply a way of emphasizing the higher level of service customers can expect when they choose Jim Ellis for their automotive needs. It's more than words, it's how their employees strive to perform their jobs every day. The philosophy is based upon principles such as:  greet each customer with a warm welcome, respect each client's valuable time, and of course, treat every customer like they are family. 
Watch the Jim Ellis Promise Video

50 Years of Excellence

The automotive group has been successful in both growth and reputation. They have expanded from one flagship Volkswagen dealership in Chamblee to now 20 dealerships located in the Metro-Atlanta area, Buford, Kennesaw, Marietta, McDonough, Sandy Springs and South Fulton.
"As we celebrate this milestone, we sincerely thank our thousands of loyal customers who have helped us grow," said Jimmy Ellis, president of Jim Ellis Automotive Group. "A half-century can bring about many changes; however, one thing remains the same - our values and commitment to those we serve. We look forward to the next 50 years of memories."

Jim Ellis Automotive Group currently employs over 1,500 employees, with 20 dealerships, representing 17 iconic brands. The portfolio of current brands includes Alfa Romeo, Audi, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Ford, Genesis, GMC, Hyundai, Kia, Maserati, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo.

View Photos, Newspaper Clippings and More from the Last 50 Years

Ongoing Community Support

The concept of giving back is something that Jim and Billie instilled in their children and it now has carried on from generation to generation to become part of the Jim Ellis Automotive Group DNA. 

Through the Jim and Billie Ellis Foundation, the company has donated over 50 million dollars to local organizations. Jim and Billie's leadership has inspired their children and the company's employees to give back to the community.

Each year, the Jim Ellis Automotive Group raises money to support local organizations that help serve underprivileged children and women in need. One of the ways that is accomplished is through an annual Holiday Giving Campaign. 

In 2019, the company-wide campaign raised $65,000 for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, which helped provide pediatric cancer patients with music therapy, special visits from canine assistants and one-on-one sessions with onsite schoolteachers and chaplains. In 2020, Jim Ellis Automotive raised $65,000 for the Empty Stocking Fund - resulting in 2,000 underprivileged children receiving toys for the holidays. Last year, we raised another $65,000 to support the Atlanta Children's Shelter to help break the cycle of poverty for families facing homelessness.

Whether it's supporting child education programs, first responders, teachers, women, filling local food banks, or partnering with organizations to provide shelter for the homeless; the Jim Ellis Automotive Group is dedicated to serving those in need within the communities they serve.

Preparing for the Next 50 Years and Beyond

Staying up to date with technology, Jim Ellis Automotive Group has enhanced the car-buying experience with the Jim Ellis Express Way - their way of making a vehicle purchase quick, easy and more convenient than ever before. 

The Jim Ellis Express Way breaks away from the traditional car-buying experience by allowing customers to shop for their next vehicle completely online. The digital tool enables customers to shop, buy and trade their way and on their own schedule. Customers can shop thousands of vehicles, configure their payment, value their trade, secure financing and more - all from a mobile device, tablet or computer. 

Pivoting towards a more sustainable future, automakers are electrifying their lineups and Jim Ellis dealerships are proud to offer several electric and hybrid vehicles in their inventory. From the Audi e-Tron, Chevrolet Bolt, and Porsche Taycan to the Volkswagen ID.4, Jim Ellis Automotive Group is moving aggressively to expand their electric-vehicle offerings with several new models set to arrive in the next couple of years. Additionally, service teams and staff continue to undergo training on these new electric vehicles to ensure proper care for the latest slew of technology-packed automobiles. 
Watch the Jim Ellis Express Way Video

Thank You!

As we look to the future, we take this moment to celebrate our past, and to celebrate everyone who played a part along the way. 

We are truly blessed and humbled by all the support and sincerely thank you for being a part of our story. Thank you for allowing Jim Ellis Automotive the opportunity to earn your business when buying or servicing a vehicle.

50 years of excellence…and we're just getting started!

   Jim and Billie Ellis   

New Inventory

Shop New Inventory

Pre-Owned Inventory

Shop Pre-Owned Inventory

Certified Pre-Owned Inventory

Shop Certified Pre-Owned Inventory

Service Department

Explore Service Department