Gus Machado came to the United States from his native Cuba at the age of 15. After having attended Edwards Military Institute in North Carolina and Greenville College, he began working for the Caterpillar Tractor Company in Illinois.
In 1956, Gus Machado decided to relocate to Miami. Having borrowed $2,000 from his father and $2,000 from personal savings he invested in a gas station on North Miami Avenue and 17th Street. Gradually, he began exporting used vehicles from this site to Cuba. The business continued to grow until 1960 when the political rift between Cuba and the U.S. ended business transactions between the two countries. Gus Machado overcame the disruption in the business by concentrating his efforts on the retail end of the industry. Sales to the increasing Latin community comprised primarily of Cuban exiles, resulted in consistent growth which led him to sell the gas station and with the proceeds purchased Star Motors, Inc. located at Le Jeune Road and N.W. 7th Street. It was here that commensurate with Miami's growth, the business and his personal wealth grew as well.
In 1966 he sold Star Motors, Inc. and established American Auto Sales, Inc. on 55th Avenue and S.W. 8th Street, as he felt he would be better located and accessible to his market niche. The move proved to be favorable and he continued to grow. In 1971, he sold American Auto Sales, Inc. and with the proceeds established Big Trail Auto Sales, Inc. located on 24th Avenue and S.W. 8th Street until 1973. In 1973, the owners of the property decided to develop the land and construct a building on the lot. By the time the lease expired, Gus Machado had decided to sell his used car inventory and dissolve the business.
During 1973 and 74, the economy experienced deep recession. Gus Machado focused and began applying his efforts and past experience to exporting new popular models with high market demand to Puerto Rico through his newly created business (in 1973), G.M. Auto Export, Inc.
As timing would have it, the only General Motors distributor in Puerto Rico, in 1974 discontinued their distributorship (Caribe Motors). Gus Machado used his reputation in the automotive industry and proven track record to take advantage of this opportunity to sell new General Motors vehicles purchased from the dealers in South Florida to General Motors dealers in Puerto Rico through G.M. Auto Export, Inc. The mix of quality products with strong market demand coupled by management expertise and low overhead proved to be very successful and profitable for Gus Machado.
The 1980’s were a period that brought him great glory and allowed him to enter the domestic new car dealership business, which he continues to date.
In 1982, Gus Machado purchased Seipp Buick, an existing Buick-GMC Truck dealership located on West 49th Street and 16th Avenue in Hialeah. The purchase included inventory and an adjoining six and a half acre tract of land across from the well known Westland Mall. The business was started as Gus Machado Buick and Gus Machado himself began starring in both the English and Spanish Buick dealership commercials. The various commercial campaigns were successful as measured by the sales results and he became known as one of the areas best-known Hispanic businesspersons. By 1984, the dealership had increased its sales from $20MM in 1982 to $43MM in 1984.
In 1984, Gus Machado purchased Johnson Ford an existing Ford dealership located on West 49th Street and 12th Avenue in Hialeah. The purchase included inventory and an adjoining five and three quarter acre tract of land just east of the Buick dealership. Gus Machado Ford became the #1 Ford dealer in Dade County and achieved the 22nd position among all Ford dealers throughout the U.S.
In October 1985, Gus Machado purchased Budget Rent-A-Car of Puerto Rico. It was the exclusive Budget Rent-A-Car franchise in all of Puerto Rico. In January, 1986 and throughout 1987, the Budget operation extended its business to include truck rentals and leasing. In 1988, the management team in Puerto Rico proposed a leasing operation for the business. Henceforth, G.M. Auto Leasing of Puerto Rico was established. General Motors Acceptance Corp. (GMAC) approved the financing and the portfolio grew to $13MM.
By 1989, Gus Machado had achieved the stature of being one of the most successful Hispanic automotive dealers in the U.S. Gus Machado Enterprises was ranked #1 in 1984, 1985 and 1986 and #2 in 1987 and 1988 among all the Hispanic automobile dealers in the country. In 1989 he was ranked #6, among all major Hispanic corporations in the U.S. and #11 among the top 500 Hispanic Corporations in the U.S.
In order to better manage his Miami operations, Gus Machado sold G.M. Auto Leasing of Puerto Rico and Budget Rent-A-Car in 1990.
Subsequently, in 1992, the Buick property was sold to Home Depot, U.S.A. now Home Depot/Gus Machado Plaza.
Gus Machado Ford has been the #1 Ford automobile dealer in Dade County in 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995; 1996 and 1997 - 2nd and 3rd among the nine Ford Dealers in Dade County.
For the past seven consecutive years, Gus Machado Ford has achieved Blue Oval Certification status from Ford Motor Company. This represents a major accomplishment as it distinguishes Gus Machado Ford as a dealership that recognizes the importance of establishing high-level operating standards and demonstrates this ongoing commitment in its day to day operations. The Blue Oval “thumbprint” emblem represents the commitment of each one of Gus Machado Ford’s employees to provide his or her own brand of personal service. Since no two customers are alike, we strive to find unique ways to meet and exceed customer’s expectations.
In 2003 Gus Machado Ford achieved Ford Motor Company’s highest honor – being awarded the President’s Award. The Ford Motor Company President’s Award recognizes the top 450 among nearly 5000 Ford and Lincoln Mercury Dealerships in the United States and Canada that have made a commitment to consistently deliver exceptional sales, service and vehicle ownership experiences to their customers.
Ford Motor Company executives attended the celebration and presented the award to Gus Machado Ford.
In 2006, 2010, 2011, Ford Motor Company recognized Gus Machado for his compassion and dedication to the worthy causes he supports as a Salute to Dealers Nominee .
Throughout the years, Gus Machado has dedicated his time, efforts, and financial support to his businesses and community. Due to his multiple charitable contributions, in 2008 he created the Gus Machado Family Foundation with the purpose of contributing to multiple charitable organizations and establishing a legacy to leave behind for his family and community.
• Co-Founder of the Calle Ocho event in 1982 in conjunction with the Kiwanis of Little Havana.
• Founder and Master of Ceremonies of the first televised Paseo Carnaval also in conjunction with the Kiwanis of Little Havana.
• In 1983, Gus Machado developed, produced, and served as Master of Ceremonies of a local television show dedicated to discover and promote local talent who otherwise would not have had the opportunity to perform on television. This show proved to be quite successful for some of the contestants.
• Founder of the first Golf Shoot Out event at the Doral Eastern open in 1985 and subsequently in 1986. These events were nationally televised by ESPN. Proceeds of these events benefited the American Cancer Society.
• Founder of the first PGA Tour Senior Golf Classic in Miami at Key Biscayne in 1987 and subsequently in 1988. The Gus Machado Senior Classic Golf Tournament at Key Biscayne had a purse of $300,000. Proceeds of this event benefited the American Cancer Society and the United Way. Nationally televised by ESPN. (In 1990 Royal Caribbean became the major sponsor).
• In 1998 Gus Machado founded the Gus Machado Classic Charity Golf Tournament benefiting the American Cancer Society. With every year that passes, this tournament is more and more successful in its fundraising efforts. To date the Gus Machado Classic Charity Golf Tournament has raised over half a million dollars.
• In 2003, Mr. Machado was a founder, and serves as Treasurer of the U.S.-Cuba Democracy PAC, a bipartisan political action committee that seeks to promote a transition in Cuba towards democracy, the rule of law and the free market. In less than five years, the U.S.-Cuba Democracy PAC has raised over $ million, becoming the largest single ethnic PAC in the U.S., and the largest foreign policy contributor.
• In 2008, to better serve the community through his charitable contributions in 2008, The Gus Machado Family Foundation was created and every year they celebrate the Gus Machado Community & Back to School Fair on the grounds of the Hialeah and Kendall Gus Machado Ford dealerships providing over 400+ children with backpacks full of school supplies. Immunizations and children I.D cards are also given to the children in conjunction with different State and local Government Agencies during the back to school Community Fair.
Contributor to: American Cancer Society
American Diabetes Association
Brasos de Amor, Foundation
Alpha One Foundation
Archdioceses of Miami, Centro Mater
City of Hialeah Annual Gala, to benefit American Cancer Society & La Liga Contra el Cancer
Community Partnership for the Homeless
Daughter of Zion Dance School
F. I. U. University
Fundacion International “Amigos del Nino con Cáncer
Flagami Khoury League (little league baseball)
Hands in Action
Hijas de la Caridad
Hope & Dreams Foundation
Hogar Cuna San Cristobal
International Tennis Hall of Fame
Joe Di Maggio Children’s Hospital
La Salle High School
M.A.R. Por Cuba
Miami Dade College Foundation
Miami Jackson Memorial Hospital
Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation
Mujeres Latinas I.M.L.
Moffitt Cancer Center Foundation
Muscular Dystrophy Foundation
Our lady Of the Wholly Rosary
Ortega Family Foundation
Radio Paz Annual Gala, Archdioceses of Miami
Susan G. Komen, Walk for the Cure
The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis
The Playground Theater
The Smile Train
Vineland Elementary School
Walking With Jesus
Willy Chirino Foundation
Member of: National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA)
South FL Dealers Association (SFDA)
South FL Ford Dealers Association (SFFDA)
The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce
Better Business Bureau
Hialeah Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Latin Chamber of Commerce (Camacol)
Colombian Chamber of Commerce
Member of the Board of: US.-Cuba Democracy PAC
Gus Machado Family Foundation, Inc.
Hialeah Chamber of Commerce
Awards Received: Ford Motor Company – One Hundred Club 1994, 1995, 1996
Camacol – Entrepreneur of the year 1996
U S Congress – Flag Flown on the US Capitol Presented to Gus Machado in 1997 & in May 2009 at the opening of the New Gus Machado Ford of Kendall
City of Miami, City of Hialeah and City of Hialeah Gardens – Keys to the Cities and proclamation of Gus Machado Day – September 28, 1996
Hialeah Miami Lakes High School Sponsorship Award for Athletic Program 1997
Dade County Government, City of Hialeah – Dealer of the year 1997
US Chamber of Commerce Businessman of the Year award Southeast Region -1997
Ford Motor Company Blue Oval Certified since 2001
Ford Motor Company President’s Award 2003
Ford Motor Credit, “Partners in Quality Award, 2009-2010
American Cancer Society
Relevo Por La Vida Sponsorship Award 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008, 2009,2010
American Cancer Society Member of “The Society” award 2007 and 2008, 2009,2010 .
American Cancer Society “Special Recognition Award “, Miami Unit, 2010
Community Partnership for the Homeless, 2010 Gala