Crown Automotive Mourns the Loss of Dwayne Hawkins, Founder & CEO

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The entire Crown Automotive Group family is mourning the loss of their beloved founder and CEO, Dwayne Hawkins, who passed peacefully on December 24th after a brief illness.

Dwayne Hawkins was an inspirational and visionary leader, a dedicated and passionate giver, and a truly remarkable human being.

A true automotive industry icon, Dwayne spearheaded the growth of Crown Automotive Group, which today encompasses 22 dealerships in three states and employs more than 1,100 people.

Hawkins started the business on April 1, 1969, out of a run-down, one-car showroom in St. Petersburg, Florida. Crown feels his greatest legacy will be the single-minded passion and dedication he had for giving back to his local community.

For more than 50 years, he enthusiastically supported a variety of civic and charitable causes, with both time and funds, ranging from St. Petersburg's Bayfront Hospital and Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital to Tampa's Moffitt Cancer Center where he founded the Hawkins Stem Cell Fund. Dwayne also served as a director and was part of the board that helped shape the Pinellas Education Foundation, which is the top education foundation in the U.S. today.

Over the years, Hawkins opened the doors of Crown showrooms so that a small army of employees and neighbors could package over one million meals for the Feeding Children Everywhere initiative.

As a dedicated supporter of Habitat for Humanity, he financed and rallied the Crown workforce to build affordable housing for ten low-income, local families.

Dwayne was most recently honored by the Tampa Bay Lightning as a Community Hero, with the $50,000 award donated to the St. Petersburg Free Clinic, Florida Dream Center, Starting Right, Now and Christian Home & Bible School.

In 2015, Dwayne was voted by his peers as the TIME Dealer of the Year for the State of Florida, a very significant dealer award in the automotive industry. Added recognition for Hawkins came at the National Auto Dealers Association annual convention that same year.

Dwayne was also to be inducted into the prestigious Tampa Bay Business Hall of Fame in 2020. However, the induction ceremony was deferred until 2021 due to the pandemic.

Jim Myers, President and COO of Crown Automotive said, “As many honors and awards that Dwayne received, I am sure he would tell you that the thing he was most proud of was his Crown team. Dwayne told me recently that he believed our team to be amongst the very best in the automotive industry, anywhere.”

Team members have reported that their indelible memories of Dwayne most often focus on the man with shirt sleeves rolled up, completely engaged in dealership operations. Myers observed, “It is truly too bad that everyone could not have gotten to know Dwayne, as they would have enjoyed his friendly, humble, and down-to-earth demeanor. He was a great leader, mentor, and friend to his Crown team and associates.”

Hawkins’ son Kevin lamented his father’s passing, observing, “What a great dad, friend and mentor he was to me. His loss to the Crown family is immense. Dwayne Hawkins was an inspirational and visionary leader, a dedicated and passionate giver, and a truly remarkable human being. He will be sorely missed." Kevin Hawkins will succeed as principal Dealer and Chairman of the Crown Automotive Group.

For over 50 years, Crown Automotive Group has grown into one of the largest privately owned dealership groups in the nation with operations in Florida, Ohio, and Tennessee.

Every Crown Automotive dealership features an extensive selection of new, certified, and meticulously inspected pre-owned vehicles with financing options for every budget.

Customers can also expect superior service from a team of highly trained technicians at Crown's signature award-winning service facilities. Driven by four core values: Customer Focus, Teamwork, Integrity, and Growth, the group is committed to providing each customer with "The Better Way To Buy."

Visit for more information on Crown Automotive Group and The Better Way To Buy®.

For further information, contact Amy Spiegel, Crown Automotive Group at or 727 527-5731 ext. 2211.

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