Family Motors owner Jose Arredondo.

Local car dealer Jose Arredondo, an immigrant who worked his way up to own several local dealerships, has died from stab wounds he suffered while in Baja California, his pastor confirmed Tuesday. He was 60 years old.

Well known for his positive outlook and generosity, Arredondo came to the United States from a rural community in the Mexican state of Michoacan at the age of 11, not knowing how to speak English.

But after demonstrating an impressive work ethic while washing cars in Los Angeles, Arredondo was promoted to become a salesman, launching him into a successful career in the car sales business.

The Rev. James Ranger, lead pastor at New Life Church, where Arredondo worshipped for two decades, called him "the real deal," a man of deep faith who donated brand-new cars to the church for fundraising purposes over 20 years.

"He was tough as nails but he had a beautiful heart," Ranger said.

Arredondo had long been dogged by rumors that he and his company, Family Motors, were somehow mixed up in crime. No charges were ever brought, however, and Ranger, who remembers having long conversations with Arredondo about the hushed allegations, said he strongly believes the rumors were started by people jealous of his professional success.

"I never saw, ever saw anything that would make me think otherwise," he said.

Several people in the car-sales business locally said an email went out across the Bakersfield New Car Dealers Association early Tuesday informing members of Arredondo's death.

John Pitre, chief operations officer at Motor City Buick GMC and Motor City Lexus of Bakersfield, called Arredondo's death a "tragic event." He said Arredondo contributed in many ways to the car dealers association.

"He was a valuable member of our community and we're certainly going to miss him," Pitre said. "We're certainly in mourning and we'll say a prayer for him."

Arredondo bought and sold a number of local dealerships over the years. In 1999 alone he said he earned $1.35 million. His Family Motors brand owned lots in Bakersfield and Delano.

He was for many an inspirational figure, often sharing his faith and encouraging people to work hard to improve their lives. Besides donating to charities, Arredondo would speak to inmates and drug addicts about changing their ways.

A golfer and jogger, Arredondo sometimes wore a gold, eight-lettered pin spelling the word "attitude."

"I'm always thinking, 'How can I impact somebody's attitude,'" he told The Californian in 2006.

His own positive attitude was a defining aspect of his business practices.

In 2007, near the start of the Great Recession, he decided to move forward with a $5 million business investment despite indications car sales were beginning to slow.

Although the move may have been ill-founded in retrospect, as the entire industry suffered a years-long sales drought, Arredondo told The Californian at the time that he was bullish on Bakersfield's growing population and had grown confident about the car dealership business.

"I'm very optimistic about life and business," he said. "We cannot be depressed about things beyond our control."

Arredondo is survived by his wife, Laura; daughter Mariana and son Samuel; and siblings.

Members of his family could not be reached for comment Tuesday and there was no word on funeral arrangements.

(34) comments


Wonder if he ever donated any contributions to Sheriff or DA candidates over the years? Or are rumors that such candidates wanted nothing to with him true?


heard the drug rumors when he had the mexican restaurant at the market place when i lived in bake o...


Jose Arredondo always answered the call when we asked him t address our students at East Bakersfield High School. His spirit was filled with hope. As I read the account from the Mexican press based on the state’s investigative body in San Jose del Cabo on the manner of death it points to an angry person(s). At this point it is best not speculate and hope the investigators bring those responsible to justice. Rest well old friend. Raul Martinez, Retired Educator


Killed . . . ? ----- Murdered . . . ! ------- Mindful of Miami 1987?-- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Aronow

Write Ideas

You should consider another hobby. This one just demonstrates that you might have some missing links.


Hello again . . . just woke up? . . . or are ya just off "the links" . . . ? (nothin' new here . . . )


Call me cynical, but let me get this straight. Jose A. is down in Baja staying in a multi-million dollar home, in a gated community with 24/7 security and he is killed during a "home invasion"? Something doesn't add up.


When I was dirt poor and needed a car to get to work, he tried to sell me a car but I could not get the credit to complete the purchase. Before I walked out, he surprised me and said, "hey you got the car loan, come back." I later learned that he personally funded my loan and I never missed a payment. Later when I got my contractors license and employed a crew of 16, I would purchase all of my work vehicles from him. Anyhow, that's why he succeeded, he believed in people and that belief came back to him in form of great dividends.


That is an awesome story. Thank you for sharing it.

Jerry Todd

When my wife was Principal of St. John's Catholic School in Wasco, Jose furnished the school with a nice used car to raffle off. Joanie sold more tickets than the rest of the school combined. Our memories of Jose will always be the best and a real appreciation of his work ethic, creativity and generosity.


Jose was not a drug dealer. He was a decent man. The rumors started because he was a Mexican doing a superior job selling an inferior—at the time// Hyundai product. It incensed the other dealers who of course were influential in the community. Jose , unlike his competitors, embraced the potent n growing buying power of the Hispanics and he hit rich. He became the most recognizable car dealer in Kern due to his commercials n philanthropy. Period. End of story. He HAD to be a drug dealer, otherwise that means he outsmarted “us”. Right? 30 years ago that was the unsophisticated mentality here. As for his supposed nephew supposedly in the Mex Mafia, that kid would have been 9 or 10 years old when Jose bought his first dealership. What? Did the kid invest lemonade stand $ with Jose? That’s how stupid the story of Jose being a drug guy is. He honestly built a legacy of success. Don’t hate him cuzz you’re not him. Love him. And remember... God is the judge... not you haters. RIP Jose


The baby sat him daily was in reference to state prison. His nephew is a validated MM member and was an inmate at a near by state prison. FACT


Mr. Arredondo demonstrated perfectly that the United States is the land of opportunity. A strong work ethic always trumps sloth. I never met Mr. Arredondo, but I sure he will be missed in his community.


[sad] I've met Jose personally, before his passing; but he had been a friend of my paternal grandmother (by love). And was a blessing to her, for about maybe 14 years. He will be missed. Prayers for all that knew him.


What a sad scary way to go. All those who suddenly ignite rumor bonfires (‘oh, he had a shady reputation ...) ought to be ashamed. He was by all accounts a friendly guy with Amazing business acumen. How many others, irrespective of race, can claim credit to his and Families’ success. Throw stones? Only reflects poorly on your own inevitable hypocrisy, unless you are the first perfect human ... in which case, how amazing it is you live in Bakersfield.


Jose worked very hard for his entire life. He achieved the American Dream but never forgot where he came from. Generous, God-fearing man. He was very inspiring. The article needs a correction. Laura Arredondo is his sister, not his wife. Rest in peace Jose.


I had the pleasure of working for him and his family members as a small business owner and he couldn't have been nicer. I always felt he got a bum rap with all the drug rumors; he was always a gentleman from my perspective. He helped support my family by using our service and even helped us buy a car at a good price. I'm sorry such a kind man is gone.


Everyone knows about him and his dealings , It was just a matter of time

Dan Claffey

A Big F U -Ledzeplin4800 dirtbag and any other assuming commenting online lossers. I know how Jose made his money and it was not drugs. - Stick that in your -.

Martha Elias

Agree with you. Several times local FBI was on his rear end and local law enforcement would tip him off to evade. I heard it directly from FBI agents while working on a task force, so I believe all the “rumors”. He may have done some good to placate his conscience and gain support, but his rags to riches story just doesn’t add up at all.


Jose was one-of-a-kind. He was the real deal. He accomplished extraordinary things. Doesn't it make us all a bit uncomfortable, knowing we can do more, do better? It should. He raised the bar for all of us. Don't tell stories because he had more money than you. Go make it happen for yourself! He would encourage you to do the same and cheer you on. Rest in peace Jose.


Word is that he was killed during a home invasion. But have also read that he was stabbed 25 times. Sounds like MM hit to me . Somebody didn't like there cut of the profits or lack thereof,


That's what I'm hearing too....MM hit job


My co-worker just informed me that he was stabbed twenty seven times. That is no home invasion robbery. Someone was sending a message. JA has a nephew that is a validated Mexican Mafia member. My buddy baby sat him on a daily basis.


Well I guess we will never learn the truth as to his death. I feel for the family and may he be at peace.


Thoughts and prayers...


Can you just let the reporters report the stories? Thank you


Nice looking Avatar


Then why are you commenting? Don't ever tell anyone what or when to write or speak about anything. Your condescension is appalling.


Weak. Last one on this story....this newspaper must have like 3 people working there now


I have to say I'm really doubting that anyone is going to take any advice or opinion from pedo hater. Me thinks you doth protest too much.


I sent them information on this 5 hours ago...



Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.