Serra Automotive acquires GM dealership in suburban Nashville

Joe Serra: "Any time you make an acquisition like this, usually the greatest asset you get are the associates."

DETROIT -- Michigan's Serra Automotive said today it has acquired the largest-volume General Motors dealership in Tennessee, Tom Bannen Chevrolet-Buick-GMC.

Terms of the deal were not released.

The Madison, Tenn., dealership is now operating as Serra Chevrolet-Buick-GMC.

The purchase brings the Nashville-area dealership back into Serra Automotive three decades after Serra's founder, Al Serra, launched the dealership with Tom Bannen.

"Over time, Mr. Bannen bought out my father," Serra Automotive President Joe Serra told Crain's Detroit Business, an affiliate of Automotive News. "Now, 30 years later, Tom is going to retire, so I bought it from him."

Nashville is a market Serra Automotive had an interest in getting back into, given its growth, he said.

Serra said Barry Carver, a dealer operator who worked with him on Serra Chevrolet in Bartlett, Tenn., has come in as an equity partner in the Madison dealership, which he will operate. The dealership employs about 150 people, Serra said, and plans are to keep them on.

"Any time you make an acquisition like this, usually the greatest asset you get are the associates," he said. "Our plan is to grow with them."

Serra Automotive posted more than $1 billion in total revenue last year, he said.

With this most recent acquisition, the Serra Automotive network operates 45 automotive franchises from 31 dealership locations in seven states, including Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, New Jersey and Colorado.

Serra Automotive, based in Grand Blanc, Mich., ranks No. 23 on the Automotive News list of the top 125 U.S. dealership groups with sales of 19,850 new vehicles in 2012.

You can reach Sherri Welch at



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