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Published August 16, 2022

36 cars…and counting

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Photo shows a man named Dustin Mullinax standing in the apex of the driver’s side door of a white Tesla Model 3, parked in front of EchoPark Charlotte.

Q: What do five Honda Accords (coupes and sedans), six BMWs, two Nissan Maxima SRs, a Mercedes-Benz 190E, Cadillac Seville, Chrysler LeBaron convertible, Bonneville SSE, Lexus ES, Lexus IS 300, Porsche Cayenne and Cayman, Acura TLX A-Spec and a Tesla Model 3 Long Range all have in common?

A: The inventory at your nearest EchoPark Automotive? Excellent guess, considering that EchoPark’s cars range from practical to sporty to luxurious.

But in this case, it’s just part of list of 36 or so cars that EchoPark Experience Guide Dustin Mullinax has owned, ever since his first car in high school, that Cadillac Seville in sky blue he received for his 16th birthday. He drove it through high school, before taking off for college in a Honda Accord.

“I have to jar my brain to remember all the cars over the years,” said Mullinax, known as D’Max to coworkers. “I was brought up in a household that likes Hondas so I had five Honda Accords. BMWs were some of my more favorite style vehicles – the X5 and 750Li were two of my favorite models, but I also had a few 5 Series – 525, 530 and 535.”

D’Max’s latest car is an Acura TLX A-Spec…oh, no, wait. That was last month. The Acura lasted less than 30 days, not long enough to make a car payment before D’Max found The One – a white Tesla Model 3 Long Range with the upgraded white interior. Her name is Tessie and he had been searching for her for six months.

“I drive 100 miles a day (50 miles each way) thus my motivation to give EV a try,” he said.

He’s pretty sure Tessie’s here to stay for a while.

“You’ll see Tessie sitting out front charging if you ever stop by EchoPark Charlotte. Or until the next one catches my eye…I plan on keeping her for a minute longer, anyway.”

Having had so many cars, D’Max said it’s hard to pick one favorite.

A hard toss up because I really love my Tesla, loved the A-Spec and a Porsche Cayman that I had,” he said.

But it’s easy to pick a least favorite: the Chrysler LeBaron.

“I remember it caught fire on the exit ramp in Gastonia on the way to the hospital of all places,” he said. “Bad memory of smoke engulfing the car, but luckily firemen came to the rescue.”

Having owned a variety of makes and models over the years definitely helps D’Max, who worked in EchoPark’s Online Sales Center before becoming an Experience Guide in January 2022. He says he’s able to get guests excited about a certain car and its features before they ever test drive it or see it in person.

“I love being able to not only help someone get into a new vehicle but share some of the things that I love about different vehicles and get to see what others love about them as well,” D’Max said.

Photo shows an electric blue Acura TLX A-Spec
D’Max’s Acura TLX A-Spec

The best part about being an Experience Guide who loves cars is handing over the keys to a new ride to a guest.

“Everyone knows I grab the bow at the end of a sale and walk out to take a picture with each guest,” he said. “Our GM probably still remembers that I came asking where’s the green bow when I started working here and had to go find a new one. I guess I just like to make it a special moment for each guest.”

D’Max has worked in sales or management all of his life, and loves working at EchoPark because it’s a “different blend of work, fun and cool atmosphere.” He realizes that buying a car can be a stressful experience, and he tries to establish a rapport with a guest by talking about a shared love of cars, or even food and travel, to help ease any anxiety.

If a guest is on the fence about a particular car, D’Max’s vast knowledge of cars comes in handy.

“I literally do a pro and con analysis and try and eliminate the guest’s concerns and provide personal input as well as personal insight or experiences,” he said. “I think by the end, most will always say that it’s been easy, hassle free and the best car buying experience they’ve had. Or so the surveys have shown.”

He knows he’s been successful when guests come back for their second or third car and refer their friends, after getting hooked on the EchoPark experience with their first car purchase.

A woman named Kenya Morris stands in front of a white Mercedes-Benz sedan at EchoPark Charlotte.
Kenya Morris and her Mercedes

A good example is a guest D’Max refers to as “Ms. Hollywood” (the name of her business). The business owner bought two Mercedes-Benz vehicles within the last month with D-Max and referred a friend to him.

“Ms. Hollywood liked my service and EchoPark so much that she sent in a huge platter of cookies, brownies, drinks and treats from Tiff’s Treats with a personal thank you card,” D’Max said.

Ms. Hollywood, also known as Kenya Morris, said D’Max’s knowledge of cars made it easy to go with his suggestions and trust his judgement when it comes to buying a car at EchoPark. He makes a lasting impression because it’s obvious that he cares about guests and their experience, rather than just making a sale. That’s why she’s recommended friends and family to shop at EchoPark with D’Max.

“When someone provides 5-star customer service, I have to tell others,” Kenya said. “I have purchased several vehicles over the past year from EchoPark and I love the over and beyond attitude that everyone has. I just love the experience and I will continue to refer my family and friends.”

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