Stellantis and Ford dealerships sell across 4 states

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Dealers buying their first and second stores, along with some expanding groups, were among buyers in four single-dealership transactions that closed in the first and second quarters.

Here's a look at the deals involving domestic dealerships in Georgia, California, Kentucky and North Carolina.

Britain Auto buys Ford dealership
Britain Auto Group on June 7 purchased Casey Jackson Ford in Royston, Ga., from Casey Jackson, according to dealership broker Michael Lacey, managing director for DCG Acquisitions, a Dave Cantin Group company.

James Baldridge, managing partner of Britain Auto, told Automotive News that Britain Auto Group formed following the Ford dealership acquisition and also includes Britain Chevrolet in Greenville, Texas. The group's other owners are Byron and Misty Britain, Baldridge said.

Lacey, who represented the buyer in the transaction, said Britain Auto purchased the Georgia store, which it renamed Lake Hartwell Ford, because the Britains have family connections in the region.

"They were looking to expand, and they wanted a Ford store, and they liked Georgia," Lacey said.

He said Jackson opted to sell to take advantage of favorable market conditions.

Baldridge said the group has tentative plans to move the store from Royston to nearby Hartwell, Ga. Both cities are northeast of Athens, Ga.

"Our plan is to move the store, [but] that time frame is not set in stone," Baldridge said.

New dealership owner buys second store

Four months after becoming a first-time dealership owner, Vikas Mehandroo on April 28 purchased his second store, Browning Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep-Ram in Norco, Calif., from Browning Automotive Group.

Mehandroo renamed the store Aaron Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram. Norco is east of Los Angeles.

Browning Automotive is a multigenerational, family-owned business based southeast of Los Angeles in Cerritos, Calif.

The Norco store did not fit with Browning's future plans, though the group intends to keep its other stores in Southern California, according to Brady Schmidt, CEO of National Business Brokers in Irvine, Calif., who, along with director Gary Mull, handled the transaction.

Browning had owned the store since 2012, according to the group's website.

Mehandroo purchased Perry Ford of Poway in California, now Aaron Ford of Poway, from Perry Automotive Group on Dec. 6. Both dealerships were renamed in honor of Mehandroo's son.

Mehandroo told Automotive News that he came to the U.S. more than two decades ago and used to work at Subway, where he became "the best sandwich artist of my time," before transitioning to the auto retail business.

He said that after working every job on the sales side of a dealership, he wanted to run his own store. Although he has no immediate acquisitions in the works, he said he hopes to expand more and encouraged others to chase their dreams like he did.

"If anybody wants to do it, it can be done," Mehandroo said. "I'm a perfect example of what you call the American Dream, right?

"I came here 24 years ago from India and worked in a Subway for a year and a half, making sandwiches. Someone told me to sell cars, so I tried it. You just have to have the determination."

Withers buys first dealership
Marcus Withers, a commercial property investor and used-vehicle dealership owner, in February acquired his first new-vehicle dealership, Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram of Lawrenceburg in Kentucky.

Withers already owns three used-car dealerships and has several years of experience working at his father-in-law's new-car operation, Pittman Enterprises of Louisville, Ky.

He bought the Lawrenceburg store Feb. 25 from Ron McCauley. It was McCauley's only dealership, Withers said in a phone interview.

Withers owns the Stellantis store on his own, as part of Withers Automotive in Louisville.

"It's hard, getting into the dealership business," Withers said. "But this store became available. It was an underperforming store, and I took the opportunity."

Lawrenceburg is just south of the Kentucky state capital of Frankfort.

Louisville Business First reported Withers paid about $8 million for the dealership. Withers said Live Oak Bank in Wilmington, N.C., was instrumental in securing Small Business Administration financing for him to enable the deal.

Withers' used-car dealerships are in Paducah and Bowling Green, Ky., and Tullahoma, Tenn., which Louisville Business First says operate under the National Car Discounters brand. Withers said he is rebranding those stores as NextGen Motors.

At Pittman Enterprises, Withers worked at different dealerships in various roles, including salesperson and finance manager. Pittman Enterprises has five dealerships, in Georgia and South Carolina.

Withers' father-in-law is Winston Pittman Sr., founder and CEO of the group. Withers also has worked in the Pittman organization's commercial and residential real estate development business.

"He's the GOAT," Withers said of Pittman, meaning "greatest of all time." Withers' wife, Misty Withers, works for Pittman Enterprises, he said.

Greer and Murchison add Stellantis store
Elliot Greer and Matt Murchison of Open Roads Inc. in Greenville, N.C., on June 22 bought Ross Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram in Boone, N.C., from Randy Ross of Ross Automotive.

The partners renamed the store Boone Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram.

Greer, president of Open Roads and dealer principal of the Stellantis store and Greenville Nissan, also is a partner in two Nissan dealerships in Virginia. Murchison is vice president of the company and an operating partner.

The duo thought Boone, home to Appalachian State University and northwest of Charlotte, N.C., would provide a great location and fit in nicely with their other businesses.

"Boone has a solid reputation and strong business-to-business relationship with strong emphasis on serving the commercial customer base," Murchison said in an email to Automotive News. "We hope to add several more dealerships this year to complement our portfolio."

Greer said the first month in business went well at the Stellantis store.

"The staff was solid," Greer said. "We're very pleased with the staff and do not plan to make any changes."

Ross sold his only dealership, Greer said. Ross said he is a partner and president of RoadVantage, a finance and insurance product company, and will continue that position.

Joe Ozog, president of Ozog Consulting Group, a buy-sell firm in Scottsdale, Ariz., handled the transaction.

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