A general manager and a family running a used-car store each bought their first new-vehicle dealerships while two regional auto retailers continued expansions in separate third-quarter transactions.
Here's a look at the deals involving domestic, import and luxury dealerships in Vermont, New York and Pennsylvania.
General manager buys first store, dealership group expands in Vermont
A general manager said he achieved his "American dream" and a company nearly doubled its franchised dealership count when retiring Stephan Maeder of Rutland Auto Group, formerly known as Kinney Motors, sold his three Rutland, Vt., stores to two buyers Sept. 29.
Maeder, in one transaction, sold Audi Rutland/Rutland Volkswagen and Rutland Dodge-Ram to brothers Barry and Patrick Lundgren of Lundgren Automotive Group, a family-owned business in Auburn, Mass. Rutland is east of the New York state line.
The Audi-Volkswagen store kept its name, while the Stellantis store was renamed Lundgren Dodge-Ram, Barry Lundgren confirmed. With the purchase, Lundgren Automotive now has five franchised dealerships, including two Honda stores, in Auburn and Greenfield, Mass., and a Subaru store in Bennington, Vt.
Lundgren Automotive also has a collision shop and classic car shop and provides insurance services. In June, the group sold a Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram store in Greenfield to McGovern Automotive Group.
In the other Sept. 29 transaction, the former Rutland Subaru was sold to Jose Oliver, a first-time dealership owner.
A native of the Dominican Republic, Oliver came to the U.S. by way of Boston in 2001. He took an auto sales job in 2006 that inspired him to earn a bachelor's degree in business administration. He worked his way up to being a general manager, most recently at Twin City Subaru in Berlin, Vt.
Oliver wanted to own a store, but the process and transaction proved challenging, according to Nancy Phillips, president of Nancy Phillips Associates Inc., a brokerage firm in Exeter, N.H.
The firm represented the seller in the transaction but also advised Oliver, Phillips told Automotive News. Oliver, who had saved up money, said many brokers and automakers didn't return his calls as he sought to become a franchised dealership owner.
Phillips said she saw something in Oliver and wanted to help him succeed. A Chase Auto program providing floorplan funding to minority candidates, lending from Live Oak Bank and Phillips' help all came together to help Oliver realize his dream.
A warm welcome from the community paired with an amazing staff made the first days after the renamed Oliver Subaru opened even better than he expected, Oliver told Automotive News.
"People are showing up to shake my hand, saying congratulations," he said. "It's been pretty good. It's pretty humbling, too."
Oliver also believed in himself when others didn't.
"You know, almost everybody told me it wasn't possible," Oliver said. "But if I believed in what people said all the time, I wouldn't be having this conversation ... today."