Back in the early days of the 20th century, cars were new and becoming more and more common. Ford Motor Company was one of the leading automakers and its brand was growing all over the country as mobility and personal transportation were becoming normal. The Lakeland Florida area was no different. Residents wanted the latest and greatest too and Ford was becoming a brand that people recognized, even if they didn’t know what models and styles were available.
In 1949 (as far as we can find from our records research), a new franchise Ford dealer was opened and called Lakeland Ford Company (pictured in photo). Surprisingly, the neon Ford wasn’t the now world famous Ford logo, even though it had already been firmly established by that time. Many franchise Ford dealers had few
requirements and restrictions on marketing with only one goal… sell Ford vehicles.
According to our records the original owner was Robert Waters who ran the dealership (and eventually owned VW and Mercedes in Lakeland) for both sales and service until it was sold to Jim Adams in February of 1982. We do know the name Lakeland Ford was changed to Jim Adams Ford in 1982 and remained Jim Adams Ford until purchased by Bill Mutz in 1996. Bill Mutz ran the dealership until under the old name Lakeland Ford and it has remained the same since.
Current owner - Greg Balasco since 2009
Bill Mutz (Lakeland Mayor) owner 1996 to 2009
Jim Adams owner 1982 to 1996 (Jim Adams Ford)
Robert Waters owner 19?? to 1982
In January of 2018, Lakeland Ford was named the recipient of the Ford Motor Company Presidents Award for exceptional sales and service which is awarded to the top 5% of Ford Dealerships nationwide. Lakeland Ford was one of only 12 dealerships in the state of Florida to win this distinction and continues to provide quality service for every customer.
We proudly continue the long standing Ford tradition to this day and have partnered with Ford’s Garage Restaurant to now further extend our community and the Ford name. Located in North Lakeland just off Interstate 4 and Highway 98, Ford’s Garage is a chain of gourmet hamburgers and craft beverages. The grand opening on June 18, 2018 opens another chapter in the Ford legacy in Lakeland.
Lakeland Ford in Lakeland Florida is proud to support our community and charitable organizations that support our community and surrounding areas. These include the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce, the Lakeland Economic Development Council, SPCA Florida, Lakeland Rotary, United Way of Central Florida, The American Heart Association, Lighthouse Ministries, Humane Society of Tampa Bay and many more schools, businesses and organizations that make Lakeland the great community that it is today.