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For more than 90 years, auto dealerships owned by the Rogers’ family have been the place to go for Imperial Valley families and businesses needing new vehicles. Today, United Toyota Imperial has expanded far beyond the founder’s early dealership’s footprint. Yet it still maintains its “can-do” spirit and outstanding record of service that converts passers-by and shoppers into believers and lifelong customers.
United Toyota Imperial is now headquartered in a gleaming, modern facility at 2351 Hwy 86, north of Aten Road in Imperial. Current owner, Leslie “Les” Rogers, has been at the helm of the business started by his grandfather for nearly 50 years. The auto dealership got its start in 1925 when Leslie Rogers Sr., the family patriarch, began selling Dodge Plymouth in Brawley and later had dealerships in both Brawley and El Centro, CA.
After Rogers Sr. was killed in a plane crash during a storm over Mount Laguna in the late 1940s, his sons Floyd and Bill Rogers took over. World War II had ended a few years prior and the two veterans had already opened a used car business in El Cajon. After their father’s untimely death, the brothers returned home to El Centro to take over the family trade. United Toyota Imperial Inc. was formed in 1951 and occupied sites up and down Broadway Ave in El Centro.
At first, United Toyota Imperial’s dealership sold Kaiser-Frazer automobiles and Henry J and Crosley Hot Shot models on a lot in the northeast corner of Sixth Street and Broadway. Today that site is home to a medical supply provider. Later the Rogers family would own a used car lot at Eighth and Main in El Centro, where they also sold Wizard boats and operated the first Hertz rental in the Imperial Valley.
After becoming a Datsun dealer in 1965, the family business became United Toyota Imperial Datsun. At the same time, Leslie “Les” Rogers went to work for his father Floyd selling Datsun at 610 Broadway across from the old Kaiser Frazer lot. Shortly thereafter, brother Bill Rogers died of cancer in the early 1970s. In 1978, The Datsun dealership moved to a site along Highway 86 in Imperial, where the United Toyota Imperial and Nissan dealerships sit today. When Floyd Rogers was killed in an auto accident in 1979, Les Rogers took over Nissan and added AMC and Renault franchises in 1982. The family business continued to expand, with Toyota added in 1998 along with GMC Oldsmobile. The GMC and Oldsmobile dealers were sold in 2001. In 2010 United Toyota Imperial became Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge & RAM dealers. In 2017 a Kia franchise was added to the variety of vehicles available from United Toyota Imperial. The Rogers’ family has a long-standing history in the Imperial Valley with strong ties to its community.