2 Southern dealers team up under new group name

Florida dealer David Maus, left, and New River Auto Mall CEO Warner Peacock have joined forces to create First Team Automotive. They plan to expand by adding dealerships in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.
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Editor's note: An earlier version of this report incorrectly characterized David Maus' current status with the Florida dealerships in which he was dealer principal. It has been corrected.

Warner Peacock, CEO of New River Auto Mall in South Carolina, is teaming up with Florida dealer David Maus to form a new company called First Team Automotive Group LLC.

First Team Automotive, which was created Aug. 1, owns nine dealerships representing 15 brands at the New River Auto Mall in Hardeeville, S.C., plus a Jaguar and a Land Rover store in Columbia, S.C. It employs about 400 people.

First Team Automotive plans to buy more dealerships in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida to expand its reach, the company said in an e-mailed news release.

Maus, who will be the COO of First Team Automotive, was the dealer principal for David Maus Toyota, David Maus Chevrolet, David Maus VW South and David Maus VW North, all in central Florida. Those stores, which are now owned by the Van Tuyl Group, are not part of First Team Automotive, a company spokeswoman said.

“My experience in the automotive industry will help guide the New River Auto Mall and its other properties to their full potential,” Maus said in a statement.

Peacock, who is a founding developer and an owner of the New River Auto Mall, will be the chairman and CEO of First Team Automotive. He will lead business development and acquisitions.

“This is an exciting time for our company, with David [Maus] and his management team adding to the fine team we now have,” Peacock said in a statement. “It will allow us to continue to grow and contribute to the economy here in the Lowcountry, coastal Georgia, and the midlands of South Carolina, as well as expand with dealership acquisitions in Georgia and Florida.”

Maus Media Group will handle First Team Automotive’s marketing and advertising.

The New River Auto Mall sold 4,000 new and 6,000 used vehicles a year.

Besides vehicle sales and service, First Team Automotive has a car and truck collision repair facility and the company opened the New River Wellness Institute in May 2014, which offers physical therapy, fitness and wellness services.

The company also owns New River Auto Mall Insurance, an Allstate insurance agency.

You can reach Jamie LaReau at jlareau@crain.com. -- Follow Jamie on Twitter


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