2020 ALL STAR | DEALER/PRIVATE
Chairman and founder,
Avondale Group and Park Place Dealerships
Ken Schnitzer had quite a year.
The founder of the all-luxury Park Place Dealerships group in the Dallas area reaped the benefits of one of the most expensive dealership buy-sell transactions in a decade and also started a new chapter in auto retail.
Asbury Automotive Group, the nation’s seventh-largest new-vehicle retailer, garnered major industry attention when it agreed in December 2019 to buy 10 Park Place dealerships. The $1 billion deal included 19 new-vehicle franchises, two body shops, an in-house auction and a vehicle subscription business.
Then, the coronavirus crisis hit. In late March, Asbury walked away from the mega-transaction.
But it wasn’t over. By early July, Asbury and Schnitzer were able to craft a new deal — this time without real estate or the vehicle subscription business and with fewer stores. By late August, Asbury acquired eight Park Place stores with 12 new-vehicle franchises, the brand name, two collision centers and the auction business for $735 million.
Schnitzer, 67, wasn’t ready for retirement after 33 years in the business. He kept some premium stores and formed a new company, Avondale Group in Grapevine, Texas, with key members of his Park Place management team.
Avondale operates vehicle subscription service Avondale Select, a Mercedes-Benz-Sprinter store, a Porsche dealership and the ultraluxury Premier Collection that features Aston Martin, Bentley, Koenigsegg, McLaren, Maserati and Rolls-Royce.