Toyota, Nissan, Kia and Chevy dealerships acquired in four states
Jul 8, 2022
Dealerships sell in Oregon, Iowa, Florida and Ohio
July 08, 2022 06:27 AM
Four dealership groups expanded their portfolios with second-quarter acquisitions, each buying one store. Here's a look at the deals involving import and domestic brand dealerships and stores in Oregon, Iowa, Florida and Ohio. Mario Hernandez and Teton Auto Group buy Coos Bay Toyota in Oregon
Mario Hernandez and Teton Auto Group added a fourth Toyota dealership to their portfolio with the acquisition of Coos Bay Toyota in Oregon on May 26. Hernandez, dealer principal of Teton Auto, and the group bought the dealership from brothers Guy and Lee Hawthorne, according to Jesse Stopnitzky of Performance Brokerage Services, a buy-sell firm in Irvine, Calif., who represented the Hawthorne brothers in the transaction. Teton will keep the store's name. Coos Bay, along the Pacific Ocean, is north of the California border and is southwest of Portland. Hernandez and Jim Parker founded Teton Auto in 2005 when they opened their first store, a Toyota dealership, in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Teton Auto has since expanded into Oregon, Nevada, Colorado and Washington. The Coos Bay acquisition adds a ninth dealership to Teton Auto's portfolio that also includes Honda, Ford and Volkswagen stores, according to a news release. In August 2021, Hernandez, Teton and two other partners bought Summit Ford in Silverthorne, Colo. The Hawthorne brothers, who are retiring, opened the Toyota dealership in 1981. "Family owned for decades, Guy and Lee Hawthorne built a family-friendly atmosphere with an emphasis on first-class customer service," Stopnitzky said in a statement. Willis Automotive buys Nissan store
Willis Automotive of Clive, Iowa, in May added its ninth new-car brand in the state, with the acquisition of the former Hummel's Nissan, the only Nissan dealership in the Des Moines metro area, according to Jason Willis, dealer principal and CEO of Willis Automotive. The dealership was renamed Willis Nissan . The sellers were Mark Hummel, dealer principal, and family members, according to broker Paul Kechnie, a partner at Performance Brokerage Services, a buy-sell firm in Irvine, Calif., who handled the transaction. Hummel's Nissan was the Hummel family's only dealership, Kechnie said. The buyer and seller are both multigenerational auto retail businesses in the area. Willis said in a phone interview that he and Hummel have known each other for years, "growing up in the business" in and around Des Moines. "This has not been an easy decision for the Hummel family," Hummel said in a blog post addressed to customers about the May 10 transaction. He said the Hummel family was in the auto retail business for 93 years. Willis, who also is chairman of the Mini National Dealer Council, said his family has been in business for about 75 years. Willis Automotive has seven brands (Cadillac, Infiniti, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mini, Lexus and Volvo) on a 28-acre campus. Some brands share service facilities and other functions, he said. Willis Nissan and one other store, Willis Chevrolet of Granger, are in standalone locations. The Willis operation also includes two used-only dealerships and three Big O Tires locations, each in Iowa. Jackson Automotive Group expands into Florida
The Jackson Automotive Group added a fifth dealership while expanding into a second state in May, with its purchase of Cocoa Kia from the Smith Auto Group. Jackson Automotive of Macon, Ga., bought the dealership on May 18 and renamed it Jackson Kia. Cocoa is about 45 miles east of Orlando. Jackson Automotive is a family-run, third-generation business dating to 1955. The Cocoa location is the group's first Kia purchase and its first in Florida. Jim Jackson told Automotive News that the group was happy to add a Kia store to their enterprise that includes Volvo, Subaru, Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz dealerships in Macon. "We're very bullish on Kia and the Florida market," Jackson said. "It's an exciting spot to be in." Ben Burton was named operating partner of the Kia dealership and will be their "guy on the ground," running the store, Jackson said. Smith Auto now has four dealerships in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Athens, Ga., according to its website. Smith Auto's John Smith Jr. in January 2021 bought Acura of Athens and Volvo Cars Athens from Charles Middleton. Robert Bass, Gregory May and Lee Lovett of law firm Bass Sox Mercer of Tallahassee, Fla., and Raleigh, N.C., represented Smith Auto in the sale. Father sells last dealership to son
A family transaction represented the end of one career and the expansion of another when Patrick O'Brien on April 6 purchased Pat O'Brien Chevrolet in Vermilion, Ohio, from his father, Pat O'Brien. Patrick O'Brien renamed the dealership Firelands Chevrolet Vermilion. His father, Pat O'Brien, had owned the dealership since 2010 and is retiring at age 71, his son said. The acquisition adds a fourth dealership to Firelands Auto Group, founded in 2017 by Patrick O'Brien. The group also includes Firelands Chevrolet-Buick in Norwalk, Ohio, Firelands Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram in Sandusky, Ohio, and Firelands Toyota, also in Sandusky. Vermilion is about 40 miles west of Cleveland and is east of Sandusky. Patrick O'Brien, owner and dealer principal of the Firelands Chevy store, told Automotive News that he's able to visit all four dealerships nearly every day since they're in the same market and located about 20 miles from each other. Aside from adding positions, O'Brien said he kept the same staff and didn't anticipate any big changes for the dealership. "He did a really good job," O'Brien said of his father. Patrick O'Brien said his dad had an "amazing career" that started in 1970 when he began selling cars for Ed Mullinax, helping to grow that business and was a part owner. The Mullinax dealership group ultimately was sold in 1996 to Republic Industries Inc. , which later became AutoNation Inc.
"I started working at Mullinax Ford [in Wickliffe, Ohio] in high school, washing cars and stuff," Patrick O'Brien said, adding that his father had retired for about a decade after the AutoNation sale. When Pat O'Brien returned to auto retail in 2005 at age 55, his son came to work for him and his father grew his business to five dealerships; he sold one other dealership (the Chevrolet-Buick store) to his son in 2017. Now, Patrick O'Brien looks forward to carrying on the family tradition. And while he hopes to keep expanding his business, the younger O'Brien said he has no pending acquisitions.