Four dealership groups expanded their holdings with purchases of stores in first-, second- and third-quarter acquisitions.
Here’s a look at the deals involving import, luxury and domestic dealerships in Indiana, Hawaii, Ohio and Wyoming.
Lou Fusz buys Kia dealership in Indiana
Lou Fusz Automotive Network of St. Louis on Aug. 3 bought Duell’s Evansville Kia in Indiana from Doug Duell and Amish Patel.
The store’s new name is Lou Fusz Kia of Evansville.
With the purchase, Lou Fusz now has 12 new-car dealerships, two used-vehicle dealerships and a motorsports store, said Randy Fusz, who runs the family’s automotive operations with his four brothers and sister as a silent partner.
“We love the [new store’s] location,” he said. “It’s the first dealership off ‘dealer row’ on Division Street. There’s a bunch of brands that go down that road.”
The group in May also purchased Tri-Ford Inc. in Highland, Ill. The growth is part of the family’s goal to double its new-car dealership footprint over the next 10 years.
“We are looking at six different opportunities,” Fusz, CEO of Lou Fusz Automotive, told Automotive News. “We’ve drawn a circle for under 300 miles away from us, to stay within three hours’ driving time.”
None of those prospective acquisitions are under contract, he said, but they include multiple domestic and import brand stores.
“The opportunity we may go after also comes down to going and visiting and understanding the people side, too, what kind of culture they have,” Fusz said. “We take a lot of that into consideration.”
The emphasis on the culture falls in line with Fusz’s interest in retaining staff from dealerships after a purchase. For example, with this most recent purchase in Evansville, Patel is Fusz’s general manager. And the Ford store in Illinois also retained the previous owner’s staff and kept the previous owner’s son on as general manager.
“If it’s further away, the less we really want to have to come in and make changes,” Fusz said. The group wants to buy turnkey stores that don’t require “wholesale change,” he said, though it invests in upgrading facilities when needed.
The Fusz family is celebrating its 70th year in the auto retail business. Randy’s grandfather Louis Fusz Sr. in 1952 bought a Dodge-Plymouth store, where Randy’s father, Lou Fusz Jr., worked and learned the business.
Paul Kechnie and Mark Shackelford, the Texas & Midwest partners for Performance Brokerage Services, an Irvine, Calif., buy-sell firm, handled the transaction.