Michael Friedman starts Buckeye Auto Lease
by Skylar Dubelko, Cleveland Jewish News
Michael Friedman, who has been a fixture in Cleveland’s automotive scene, has branched out on his own with the creation of Buckeye Auto Lease in December 2019.
“We’re a leasing company, we could get anybody any car; we’re also a car concierge service where we’ll take them to the dealership, we’ll set the whole deal up for somebody,” said Friedman, a member of Park Synagogue in Cleveland Heights and Pepper Pike.
Additionally, if a customer’s lease is ending soon, Friedman will inspect the car and let them know what needs to be fixed before turning it in. He said he has also built relationships with auto shops, “so if anybody needs their car detailed or dents taken out of the car, or if they want a window tinting, or if they want a remote starter, we’re going to offer that as well for our customers.”
Friedman said working for himself hasn’t confined him to representing just one or two automotive manufacturers at a dealership. Instead, he can negotiate the best price on any vehicle.
“I have about 10 different dealerships that I go to,” said Friedman, listing Honda, Toyota and Jeep local dealerships as examples.
Friedman said having been on the selling side gives him insight into “all the secrets and where money is hidden. Plus, I have dealers that are competing for my customers and they’re willing to give me special low prices for my customers because they would have never gotten that business anyways.”
Friedman joined Motorcars Toyota in Cleveland Heights in 1988 and rose through the ranks during his nine years at the dealership.
“I started from the ground up selling,” he said. “I developed a customer base of over 2,000 people and I was one of the top Toyota salespeople in the country.”
His next stint was as general manager of Bedford Nissan, which lasted four years before he left to run “Ganley Volkswagen Subaru Alfa Romeo” for about 14 years.
“After that, I had an opportunity to work for the Jay Auto Group at their Honda and Volkswagen dealership, and then I realized that I did not want to work the 55, 60 hours a week anymore,” said Friedman, a lifelong Beachwood resident who graduated from Beachwood High School in Beachwood and The Ohio State University in Columbus.