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The Pohanka Story


The Pohanka Automotive Group is one of the oldest automobile dealerships in the nation. Frank S. Pohanka was born in the Bronx in New York City. He ran away from home in his eighth grade year and found a job on a horse farm on Long Island. It wasn't long before this stable boy became a successful jockey, racing horses throughout North America. Eventually he could not 'keep weight' and then was faced with what to do with the rest of his life.

Frank was mechanically inclined and went back to New York City, where he read every book on automobiles in the city library. He became a car mechanic and eventually was hired by General Motors as a service rep. GM transferred him to a factory-owned Chevrolet dealership located in downtown Washington DC.

In 1919 Frank Pohanka opened his first dealership at Ward Place, in N.W. Washington DC,where he sold and serviced Chevrolets. He quickly established a reputation as amaster mechanic and service consultant, and for thirty years called his company"Pohanka Service" to emphasize that fact.

In 1923 Frank Pohanka moved his dealership to 1126 20th Street, N.W. and became an Oldsmobile dealer. He converted a movie theater into a three car showroom and converted a Civil War era livery stable into a repair shop. After his death in 1958, his son, John Pohanka, became the dealer, and in 1967 relocated the dealership to the suburbs in Marlow Heights, MD. He soon started acquiring more franchises and locations.

Today, the Pohanka Automotive Group has locations in Capitol Heights, Maryland; Salisbury, Maryland; Chantilly, Virginia; Fredericksburg, Virginia; and Tomball, TX. We sell nine makes of vehicles, including Honda, Lexus, Acura, Hyundai, Nissan, Chevrolet, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, and Volkswagen, and employ over 1,400 people. 

Our Chairman, John Pohanka, is a former President of the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA). He was a founder and chairman of the National Institute for Service Excellence (ASE), which tests and certifies auto technicians nationally. He also founded and was the first chairman of the National Automobile Technicians Education Foundation, which evaluates and certifies automotive curricula in the country's vocational schools.

Since 1919, four generations of the Pohanka family and our associates have provided our loyal customers a variety of easy ways to meet their transportation needs, including a wide selection of new and used cars; multiple innovative methods and sources of financing; advanced training and equipment in our service departments; state-of-art repair processes in our collision centers; and friendly, well-trained and professional personnel in all our locations.

The Pohanka Automotive Group has won many awards including the Time Magazine National Quality Dealer Award, the Sports Illustrated AIADA All-Star Dealer Award for outstanding customer service, commitment to the industry, the community, and the nation; and the Distinguished Service Citation from the Automotive Hall of Fame. Pohanka is the only dealership group to have received all three of these awards. We look forward to serving all your automotive needs.