Va. dealer Moorehead becomes 1st African-American with a U.S. Rolls-Royce store

Tom Moorehead

Tom Moorehead, owner of BMW and Mini dealerships in Sterling, Va., has acquired a Rolls-Royce store, becoming the first African-American with a franchise to sell the ultraluxury brand in the United States.

Moorehead acquired Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Sterling on Dec. 30. That makes him the operator of one of 35 U.S. Rolls-Royce dealerships, a spokeswoman for the brand said. The store had been operated by Euro Motorcars Inc. in Bethesda, Md.

“When you look at it, [Rolls-Royce] is the next step up from BMW,” said Moorehead, who also is chairman of the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers.

NAMAD President Damon Lester confirmed that Moorehead is the first African-American to hold a Rolls-Royce franchise in the United States.

This year, Moorehead expects his monthly Rolls-Royce sales to total 30 to 40 new units and 8 to 10 used units. He said his store serves customers of the dealership’s previous owners in Washington, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

The first Rolls-Royce Moorehead sold was a two-door Wraith. The Wraith, introduced in 2013, is aimed at 40-somethings. He said many Rolls-Royce Ghost sedans, which were launched in 2009, are returning to the market as off-lease vehicles. He expects those vehicles to provide inventory for his used-car operations.

He added: “We’re looking forward to having a pretty good year.”

You can reach Arlena Sawyers at asawyers@crain.com

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