LOS ANGELES — Mike Kahn runs what may be the fastest-growing dealership group in America, moving up more places than any other company on Automotive News' latest ranking of the country's largest auto retailers. His secret: relocation, relocation, relocation.
The 48-year-old Southern California native — a former amateur boxer who started out selling bean bag chairs on the street — became a car dealer seven years ago. Kahn's Superior Automotive Group, based in Long Beach, now has seven stores spread across California: four Nissan dealerships, two Toyota stores and a Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge site.
Kahn's MO: Buy prime California properties near freeways and big shopping centers and then aggressively pursue strong new-vehicle franchises to plunk down on the sites.
As a business model, it may not be entirely original. But Kahn seems particularly good at it. When trying to match locations with franchises, he won't be deterred — even by opposition from the likes of Toyota.
"He is a substantial real estate dealer as well as a car dealer," said dealership broker Sheldon Sandler, CEO of Bel Air Partners in Skillman, N.J. "I don't think there are many dealers who have gone to the level of real estate entrepreneurship that he has. He has a broader vision about the relationship between real estate and car dealers than you would ordinarily find."