After a career in auto retailing that spanned five decades, Traverse City, Mich., dealer Otto Belovich is calling it quits.
He is selling his three dealerships to Joe Serra, owner of Serra Automotive Inc. in Grand Blanc, Mich. The sale is expected to close Nov. 30.
Belovich, 73, and Serra, 55, thus become part of a growing trend in the active buy-sell market: Large privately held dealership groups are buying smaller groups owned by dealers ready to cash out and retire.
"He's been chasing me for eight years," Belovich joked. "It's time."
Serra said he wants to acquire more stores and is "wide open" about dealership locations. "There's plenty of opportunity -- you just have to keep looking," for the right dealerships, he said. "And there is plenty of capital -- the cost of funds is low. The limited resource is talented individuals. That's the hardest thing to find."