Meet our owner, Dennis Ellmer | Priority Toyota Springfield



Dennis Ellmer got his business training early with a newspaper route, as a deli worker and shining shoes. From those humble beginnings, he has built one of the largest automotive retail operations in the nation. Ellmer began his career at Cycle World and then at Colonial Chevrolet under the tutelage of the late Josh Darden. He credits Darden with providing his first opportunity in the car business and setting an example that emphasized the importance of integrity, service, community participation and personal commitment.

Ellmer launched his own brand, Priority Automotive, in 1999 with his acquisition of Kline Chevrolet and Kline Toyota in Chesapeake, VA. The newly branded Priority dealerships emphasized unparalleled customer service—their “we put you first” philosophy—and they prospered, becoming the market leaders in their very first year of operation. In 2001, he launched Priorities For Life, the value-added feature that has become the company’s differentiating hallmark.

Following closely on the success of those first two dealerships, Ellmer began seeking other opportunities. Soon the Priority sign rose in front of Acura, Honda, Hyundai, and Infiniti dealerships in Chesapeake where he also built one of the largest Toyota dealerships in America.

More recently Priority acquired Lexus in Virginia Beach; Honda, Toyota and Braunability dealerships in Hampton, VA; Lexus and Chevrolet dealerships in Newport News, VA; Honda in Roanoke. Priority also expanded into the metropolitan Washington DC market with Nissan and Mazda dealerships in Tysons Corner, VA; a Nissan dealership in Chantilly, VA; and one of the nation’s largest Toyota dealerships in Springfield, VA. Today Priority owns 18 dealerships throughout Virginia, operates numerous collision repair centers, buying centers and used car dealerships and employs more than 2000 people. Priority is ranked among the top dealer groups in the U.S.

Dennis Ellmer and his Priority team have achieved local, regional and national recognition for their performance and their community contributions. In 2019, Akio Toyoda, President of Toyota Motor Corporation presented him with the Best In Town award, a national honor presented to only one Toyota dealership in the U.S.

Just as he never forgot his early business lessons, Ellmer also remembered the lessons he learned about the importance of community. From the earliest days of Priority, he encouraged his employees to give back to the community as he set the example himself. In addition to his financial contributions, he serves on various boards and committees, many related to improving the lives of Hampton Roads children. He is credited with rescuing the over 50-year old Charity Bowl Football Game and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for children’s charities. He is also active in numerous professional and civic organizations on the local, state and national levels.

Ellmer is very much a son of the Hampton Roads region of Virginia. Born in Chincoteague, VA he grew up in Ocean View, attended Holy Trinity School, and graduated from Norview High School. He has been married to wife Jan for 40 years and they have 3 children. The family lives in Virginia Beach.

Thank you for visiting Priority Toyota Springfield, in Springfield VA, a premier Toyota dealership serving nearby Tysons Corner, Springfield, Fairfax, Woodbridge, and Washington. We have a substantial amount of new Toyota cars, trucks, and SUVs for sale at competitive prices. In addition we have many certified pre owned Toyotas and a variety of other quality vehicles in a variety of makes and models. Take some time and browse Priority Toyota Springfield’s online inventory. We have the following Toyota models available: 4Runner, Avalon, Avalon Hybrid, Camry, Camry Hybrid, Corolla, FJ Cruiser, Highlander, Matrix, Prius, Prius c, Prius v, RAV4, Sequoia, Sienna, Tacoma, Tundra, Venza and Yaris. To schedule a time that is convenient for you call 703-269-1400.