Nissan North America Inc. has rejected the high bidder in a hotly contested Nissan dealership sale in Columbus, Ga.
Jay Automotive Group, a Columbus Toyota-Scion-GMC-Buick-Pontiac-Saturn retailer, late last month beat out two other parties vying for Rob Doll Nissan with a bid of $8.4 million.
But Nissan has asked the judge in charge of Rob Doll's bankruptcy case to permit Nissan to exercise its right of refusal on the bid. The court will consider the request this month.
Darryll Harrison, a spokesman for the automaker, said the company would not disclose its reason for trying to reject Jay Automotive's bid. Nissan previously objected to a proposal by Jay to acquire the Doll franchise and employ current owner Rob Doll in managing it. Jay abandoned that plan.
If approved by the court, Nissan's move could open the door for a sale to S.E. Columbus Automotive, a venture owned by south Alabama Nissan dealer Shawn Esfahani.
S.E. Columbus was the No. 2 bidder for the Nissan dealership. A third bidder from the Columbus area also sought the property.
The case has been moving rapidly through U.S. Bankruptcy Court since Doll's auto retail group collapsed last summer. Doll had been constructing a $9 million store for his existing Nissan franchise when project overruns drove the price to an estimated $11 million.
According to sources familiar with the case, Doll's higher-than-expected construction costs, coupled with loan problems, falling sales at his General Motors dealerships and Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp.'s cancellation of his floorplan financing, tipped his business into bankruptcy last year.
Since then, bidders have been vying to acquire the franchise, with or without the unfinished new retail building.