While his lawsuit against Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp. winds its way through the courts, former high-flying California dealer Mike Kahn has returned to his first love: real estate.
Kahn says his new company, Southland Realty Group in Newport Beach, Calif., wants to buy and sell dealerships and help dealers lease land.
Kahn's Superior Automotive Group was the fastest-growing dealership group in the United States in 2007 -- rocketing to 73rd on Automotive News' list of the top 125 dealership groups, from 106th in 2006.
But much of that growth was bankrolled by Nissan Motor Acceptance. It cut Kahn off in 2009, and in January he filed a $250 million lawsuit against Nissan Motor Acceptance alleging fraud and breach of contract.
Kahn, 49, a former amateur boxer, started out selling beanbag chairs on the street before he got into commercial real estate. He became a car dealer in 2001.
Says Kahn, who closed his five remaining dealerships in February 2009: "I love doing deals. If I can do small deals or big deals, and do a lot of them, I'm a happy camper."