The Last Word: Like father, like son

Emil Ewald is founder of Ewald Automotive Group. Dan Ewald is one of Emil’s four sons and president of Mayfair Leasing and Mayfair Rent-A-Car. They share perspectives on running a family business.

Father: “As a family business with over 45 years in the automotive industry, we understand all too well how hard this economy has hit all of us. Some of the lessons we’ve learned over the years have put us in a better position than others in our industry.”

Son: “Things my brothers and I have learned from our father include listen to customers’ needs and respond. Listening to our customers when they rented while their cars were in for service, resulted in offering corporate and vacation rentals. Our corporate leasing customers asked for a wider scope of assistance in managing their fleets, so we developed fleet management solutions that have saved our clients hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Father: “We’re conservative, but conservative does not mean being closed to new opportunities and possibilities, which has enabled us to take some risk while being fiscally responsible – that’s a good long-term strategy for anyone.”

Son: “Diversify, but be sure to stay true to what you’re good at, or as a banking executive once said to me, ‘Stick to your knitting.’ Every time we’ve expanded our range of services, it’s been complementary to what we already do.”

Father: “If you decide to diversify, make a full commitment. At some point, we needed to make the rental and leasing businesses into their own entities in order to do justice to our customers. It also offered Dan the opportunity to take and grow the business into what they are today. Diversification has put us in a position to survive and thrive during a tough time.”

Emil Ewald


Ewald Automotive Group


Dan Ewald

Vice president

Ewald Automotive Group


Mayfair Leasing and

Mayfair Rent-A-Car

Number of employees:  400

Coolest thing about the company: Ewald Automotive Group is the 35th-largest privately held corporation in Wisconsin and the only automotive group in Wisconsin that operates both a multi-location car rental company and a vehicle leasing company.

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