He also lectured extensively on business around the country, passing on advice such as: "You can't concentrate on money as a goal. It's got to be a byproduct; you have to concentrate on providing service."
"You shouldn't get too comfortable in building up your pension or in the fancy cars and fancy offices," he said. "Stay humble and stay hungry."
The unpretentious Anderson — who despite his wealth was known to drive a Subaru, purchased from one of his dealerships, to black-tie events — maintained strong work habits that for years included putting in 12-hour days at the office.
Anderson continued to come into the office until Thursday, the day before he died.
"I enjoy the game of building businesses," he told the Los Angeles Business Journal in 2004. "I hate to call it a game, but it is certainly like a game. You try to win with it. I think if you are not competitive, you should take a look at yourself."
Although much of the daily operations had been handed over to some of his children and other executives, the Business Journal reported, Anderson continued to oversee the automotive group and real estate operations.
Anderson had five children with his first wife, Margaret, who died of cancer in 1965. Their daughter Deborah died in a car accident four years later at age 17.
He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Marion; his daughters Susan McKinley and Judy Munzig; sons John and William; 15 grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.
Services are pending.