Nicknamed “Red” because of her striking auburn hair, Marissa Molnar is about as big into cars as a person can be: She sells them, fixes them, and races them. Find out which of the three gets her motor running the most, and why she’s never believed in taking the easy road.
Having just turned 30, Molnar says she’s learned that staying challenged is key to her success. She recently moved from a large dealership that sold Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, and Ram to one that sells Mitsubishi exclusively. Her reason?
“I’d hit a learning plateau at my old dealership, which was in one of the most affluent areas of New Jersey. So going from that to an area where a lot of my clients are not so wealthy has really taught me a lot,” she says. “All the steps are still there on the road to having a car burning gas, but the processes change quite a bit.”
Molnar also knew that more opportunities beyond selling cars would be available to her at Route 46 Mitsubishi. At her new home, she can follow her passion of social media, personal branding, and getting creative with closing deals.
Read on to learn more about what drives her …
1. People might know that beyond selling cars, you’re also a race car driver. How did that happen?
I started back in 2005. Believe it or not, I had a Mitsubishi! I used to race my Eclipse on an itty-bitty drag race strip up in New Jersey. Then I got into a couple of different cars doing rallycross, road racing, autocross. I had a boyfriend who did Top Dragster drag racing. And if you want to talk about fast, try 224 miles per hour in 6.11 seconds.
2. Did you have any influences when getting into racing?
Not through anyone in my house! My mother is hysterical – she says cars are a losing proposition. My first boyfriend had a ’72 Mustang that I learned to parallel park, with no power steering, so that was my introduction to cars, and how I started working on them.
I wanted to know how to change a tire, change my oil, and from there I did an upgrade on my brakes. I have a ’92 Miata that I race. I did the brakes on that, I did the radiator, and then this past weekend when I was racing, the car overheated. With the help of some friends – and some parts – we were able to fix it. But getting into fixing cars, I did that on my own.
3. How often do you race?
Every race that falls on a Sunday, I’m there. With changing over to the new job, I can’t do the road racing as much because that’s a three-day event, and I’d have to miss Saturday at work, when I’m really trying to set my roots here.
4. How does selling cars help you race, and how does racing help you sell cars?
If someone’s buying a car or truck for a business, sometimes I’ll ask the business owner if they want to put their logo on my car, so they can sponsor a race car. And when I sell certain new cars, there’s spin money. That spin money is my racing budget for the year.
5. Do you consider yourself a gearhead?
I guess you could call me the “trifecta,” since I sell, fix, and race cars.
6. How does that play into your work?
It’s kinda funny; it can help break down barriers with my customers. I had a guy say, “What does this woman know about cars? She’s wearing a dress and heels. What does she know?” And I go, “Well, I just got third place this last weekend at the race, so what can I tell you about my car?” I don’t like to come at people that way, but you’re telling me I don’t know what I’m talking about just because of the way I look.
7. How many cars were you doing at your old store, and do you expect that to stay about the same?
14 to 18. I didn’t think I’d be able to hit those same numbers, because I went from a store selling 300 cars a month, with 21 people, to a store with seven people doing half of that. I sold eight cars in the first two weeks here, so it was exciting to see it could be done.
9. How are you pushing yourself at the dealership? Do you have a goal you’re trying to achieve?
Yes, into special finance. I have a big heart – I like helping people. It’s not an “up” or a “lead” – it’s a human being, who deserves respect. Most people don’t know all of their opportunities [to afford a new car], like maybe they can get a cousin to co-sign. There’s a lot of opportunity. I’m a pit bull when it comes to that.
“The reason my nails are painted is to hide the dirt and grime underneath.”
10. What’s more satisfying for you: Closing a 4-pounder or setting a new record in a quarter-mile?
Hmm …. The question that got me saying “hmm …”! One hand washes the other. With the 4-pounder, there’s my spin money, and a little more. But the racing always gets me more excited. At the end of the day, I’m happy that I got a person in a new car, more so than the money I’m making off the deal. But racing is really the thing that pumps my adrenaline.
10. Between moving metal at the dealership and, literally, at the racetrack, cars are a huge part of your life. What do you like to do to relax?
Yeah, I’m a one-trick pony, but I do love gardening. I’m grinding all day, making sales, then I go home and don’t rest! I do a lot of projects around the house, physical labor, things like landscaping and painting. And I always have YouTube playing in the background, with videos on closing techniques and finance-pitch ideas, in order to prepare me for the next opportunity!