Matthew Unger at work
Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

After 19 years in the car business as general manager and partner of Lexus Santa Monica, Lower Las Casas resident Matthew Unger has expanded to Toyota Santa Monica—marking the 11th LAcarGUY dealership.

“It’s about relationships and taking care of people,” Unger told the Palisadian-Post about his work as general manager at both Lexus and Toyota. “We treat people really well and we build relationships for a lifetime.”

Since taking over Toyota in June of this year, Unger has applied many of the principles that have served his team well over at Lexus.

“We look at guest experience before anything else,” Unger explained. That’s why the Santa Monica Toyota lot offers complimentary valet service with a full guest parking lot.

Another aspect that makes LAcarGUY special: an app.

“Any car that the guest wants, we can bring it up in a very short amount of time,” Unger said.

Unger, a Palisades Charter High School graduate, played professional beach volleyball for 10 years before transitioning to the car business. His uncle had owned a Ford store, which made for a natural career progression when he started working there part time.

In 2001, Unger transitioned to Lexus, where he has been ever since. And full circle, Unger has returned to the Palisades to raise his own family.

“It’s a community where I wanted to bring my kids back to, and I was able to do that four years ago,” he shared. “From the schools to the after school programs to the sporting programs at the park, it’s just a great way to grow up.”

Unger is also grateful for the chance to give back to the Palisades—an area that has given so much to him.

“The great part about it is being able to give back to the community that I grew up in—in sports and everything else,” he said.