Meet Henio Arcangeli Jr., the highest ranking Latino auto executive in the U.S.
He is the senior vice president of automobile sales at Honda & Acura, a role he’s filled since 2017.
The auto industry in the United States is continuously evolving. With the population in the country also changing, so too does the consumer base.
As Latinos are comprising a larger segment of the U.S. population, it just so happens that the highest ranking auto sales executive in the U.S. for one of the most popular car brands in the country is Latino.
Henio Arcangeli, Jr. is the senior vice president of the automobile division of American Honda Motor and Acura Co. In his role, he is responsible for the sales and marketing operations for the Honda and Acura automobile brands within the United States.
“Honda is an amazing company,” Arcangeli said during an interview with AL DÍA. “Everything from innovation of products, the company culture, the people here wanting to do what’s right for the customer… for society, it’s really a fantastic company.”
Under his leadership, Honda sells more than 1.6 million automobiles a year through its dealer partners throughout the U.S., Central America and the Caribbean, totaling two dozen countries.
As the highest-ranking Latino executive in the auto industry, Arcangeli holds that distinction as one that brings a lot of pride, but also great responsibility.
“I know it’s a huge responsibility,” he said. “It’s a huge responsibility to provide a very clear leadership and guidance for the continued growth and success of these businesses. So, it’s a job that I absolutely relish and also understand the gravity… that comes with it.”
Arcangeli’s father came to the United States with his best friends. He didn’t speak a word of English, and had less than $200 in his pocket.
He landed in Los Angeles, and found a job within a day.
For about two years, he maintained contact with Arcangeli’s mother mainly through letters. However, after establishing himself, he proposed. She then landed in Los Angeles, the two married and started their life together in the U.S.
“It’s kind of the classic immigrant story if you think about it,” Arcangeli reflected.
Growing up, Arcangeli’s father had a commercial refrigeration business, and managed several mechanics. During the summer, the young Arcangeli would often watch his father fix and make things.
Around the same time, he developed an interest in mechanics, auto racing, and the technology that went along with it.
“At a very young age, knew I wanted to be an engineer,” said Arcangeli. “I dreamed of designing, building cars, and wanting to work in the auto industry… That was my passion growing up.”
Prior to joining American Honda in 2017, Arcangeli had worked several years as a senior operating executive in several “durable consumer product industries,” as he called it.
These include GE Appliances, Yamaha Motor Corporation and Yanmar North America. However, working in the auto industry is where his passion lies.
“I truly enjoy the automotive business,” Arcangeli confirmed. “Everything from the design and engineering aspects of the business and developing new vehicles, to being on the commercial side of the business, marketing and selling what I think are the best vehicles on the market.”
As some automakers abandon the sedan segment, Honda continues to see sedans as an opportunity to reach Latino buyers.
“Consumers are very important to both Honda and Acura,” Arcangeli said. “And I’m very happy to say that Honda has done very well with the Spanish-speaking community.
Furthermore, he added that the Honda Civic is one of the most popular vehicles the company sells today, and is the number one selling vehicle to Spanish-speaking customers in the U.S.
Arcangeli highlighted the brand’s style, reliability and good fuel economy as some of the factors that play into Honda’s popularity and value among the Latino community.
“I think that enables us to be highly effective, and very good at targeting Spanish-speaking consumers in the United States,” he added.
As a high-ranking Latino executive, Arcangeli says it’s important to have goals. That’s been one of the factors he can point to that helped him get to the position in which he is in today.
“If you don’t have goals, it’s easy to become a leaf in the wind and just go where the wind guides you to,” he said.
In addition, he added that there is no substitution for hard work and education.
That was a value that his parents instilled in him and his brother, and one that remains at the core of everything he does.
“I’ve always used that as my baseline of what it takes to be successful.”