Clay Cooley adds Hyundai store
Dealer Clay Cooley grew his group’s presence in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in Texas with the June 27 addition of his third Hyundai dealership, one of more than 10 dealerships in his portfolio, according to DCG Acquisitions, a Dave Cantin Group company, which facilitated the transactions.
“It’s a strategic acquisition,” George Pero, vice president of sales for DCG Acquisitions, said in a phone interview. Pero, along with Brian O’Malley, a managing director with the company, worked on the deal.
“Pretty much all their dealerships are within driving distance,” Pero said of Clay Cooley Auto Group, of Irving, Texas. “This purchase expands their existing footprint.”
In November, the group bought a standalone Cadillac dealership in Garland, Texas.
The June acquisition, formerly known as Bob Stallings Hyundai in Dallas, was renamed Clay Cooley Hyundai of Dallas.
The dealership is a past Automotive News Best Dealerships To Work For winners. In a phone interview, dealer Bob Stallings confirmed he was the seller through a corporate entity he controls.
“It wasn’t particularly for sale. But Cooley made a very compelling offer,” Stallings said. “As a businessperson, even though I was emotionally attached to the dealership, I thought it was a good business decision.”
Stallings, also a former auto insurance company executive, said he doesn’t own any other dealerships, but he would like to get back into auto retail in the future.
“I like the car business, and I intend to be in it again, although I feel like I will wait until it’s more rational pricing,” he said.
Heritage Auto Group expands in Wyoming
Heritage Auto Group on Aug. 16 bought two dealerships in southwest Wyoming, E & L Motors, a Chevrolet-Buick-GMC store, and Frontier Ford, from brothers Vince and Tony Tomassi. That’s according to Jon Weese, CEO of Heritage Auto.
The purchase of the Diamondville, Wyo., stores brings Heritage Auto to seven stores: two Ford dealerships, two General Motors dealerships, two Stellantis dealerships and one dual Ford-Stellantis store. All of the group’s dealerships are in northern Utah or southwestern Wyoming.
The Diamondville stores were the Tomassi brothers’ only new-vehicle dealerships, Weese said.
They were renamed Heritage Chevrolet-Buick-GMC of Diamondville and Heritage Ford of Diamondville.
Weese told Automotive News that the purchase made sense given his group’s focus on serving rural communities.
“Our specialty is in rural areas, smaller markets — more community-oriented, family-oriented,” Weese said. I “just felt like it fit our model.”
Weese and Heritage in November expanded into Wyoming, buying a Chevrolet dealership in Evanston.
As for the Tomassis’ decision to sell, Weese said the brothers wanted to focus on other interests.
“They’ve been involved in the business their whole lives, but really, it’s what’s next for them,” Weese said, adding that includes time with family.
In addition, the Tomassis will be focusing on a restaurant they own nearby, Weese confirmed, even if it’s open just Thursday nights.
Weese hopes to capitalize on the rapidly developing digitalization of dealerships. He said it’s part of the reason he continues to buy dealerships, regardless of brand.
The “plan is to continue to grow and enhance those businesses, changing along with the times and continuing to serve those smaller communities,” Weese said. “You’re really not locked down to the location anymore. Especially in today’s market, when you have product, you’ll sell it.”
John Mecham and Johnny Mecham, Rocky Mountain partners for Performance Brokerage Services, an Irvine, Calif. buy-sell firm, facilitated the transaction.