Dutch Miller Auto Group expands to Kansas
Dutch Miller Auto Group of Huntington, W.Va., entered a fourth state with the July 18 purchase of Cody Foster Buick-GMC in El Dorado, Kan., from Cody Foster, according to Performance Brokerage Services, an Irvine, California, buy-sell company that handled the transaction.
The store was renamed Dutch Miller Buick-GMC of El Dorado. El Dorado is northeast of Wichita.
Foster had owned the El Dorado store since 2020. He started in the automotive industry at age 18 and spent 10 years at Blake Fulenwider Automotive, where he worked as general manager, partner and COO.
Dutch Miller Auto is a third generation family business that was established in Huntington in 1961 by Dutch Miller. Miller’s son Matt and grandsons Chris and Sam now own and operate the business, according to its website.
Dutch Miller entered Tennessee this year with its Jan. 31 purchase of a Nissan store in Bristol, now named Dutch Miller Nissan of Bristol. The auto retailer now has dealerships offering more than 10 brands in West Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Kansas.
Paul Kechnie and Mark Shackelford of Performance Brokerage Services represented Foster in the transaction.
Putnam Automotive expands in the San Francisco Bay Area
Growing Putnam Automotive Dealer Group of Burlingame, Calif. acquired its first Volkswagen dealership with a purchase in the second quarter.
On June 1, Putnam Automotive purchased Volkswagen of Oakland, California from retired dealer Mike Murphy. The name of the dealer remains.
Murphy’s sons, Mike Murphy Jr., the dealership’s used-car manager, and Chris Murphy, the store’s general manager, both remained with Putnam as partners and have a minority stake in Volkswagen of Oakland. , Andrey Kamenetsky, COO of the Putnam Group, said in an email to Automotive News. Kamenetsky did not disclose the brothers’ ownership percentages.
“Oakland is an ideal location for both VW’s market demographics and the rapid expansion of the EV business,” Kamenetsky wrote. “The Putnam organization looks forward to applying some of the larger group’s economies of scale to help VW of Oakland optimize its operations and will work with VW of America to implement some branding updates. VW in the facility.”
The store is the group’s first location in Oakland, Kamenetsky said. Other Putnam dealers are located in the cities of Burlingame, San Mateo, Redwood City and San Carlos on the San Francisco Peninsula.
In 2020, the Volkswagen store in Oakland was one of more than 30 franchise dealerships across the United States that had their vehicles damaged, stolen or forced to close amid protests against police brutality which spread after the May 25, 2020, death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis.
In late 2014, Murphy, along with Volkswagen of America, disclosed plans to demolish the Volkswagen dealership and replace it with a 500-unit apartment complex, with a Volkswagen store on the ground floor.
However, Kamenetsky confirmed that the apartment development plans “never materialized for Murphy and were not being considered for our purchase”.
The Putnam Group has grown through acquisitions and manufacturer-award-winning open-point dealerships.
Last August, Putnam purchased a Honda dealership in San Carlos. The store has moved less than a kilometer from its original location and operates from modular buildings while a new showroom is under construction, Kamenetsky said.
In addition to the acquisitions, Putnam secured a Ford open outlet in San Mateo that opened in March 2021 and a Kia open outlet in Burlingame that opened in October 2021, Kamenetsky noted.
Jason Stopnitzky, co-founder of Performance Brokerage Services, represented Murphy in the sale to Putnam Automotive.
Friendship Dealer Family Expands to West Virginia
Mitch Walters, president of Friendship Family of Dealerships, said he was looking to buy another Hyundai dealership — he already had two, in Johnson City and Bristol, Tennessee — when he found what he wanted in the former Pantili Hyundai in Princeton, W. Virginia.
“The good thing about it is a great product,” Walters said of Hyundai. He added that Hyundai’s strategy is to have fewer and stronger dealerships, so that Hyundai dealerships compete with Honda and Toyota, rather than each other.
“They’re innovative and they’re not oversold,” he said. “You run a good store in your respective market and do well instead of competing with four or five other dealers of the same brand when you’re a Chevy dealer.”
Friendship of Bristol, Tennessee, purchased the dealership April 20 from local dealership William Pantili, which plans to retire from auto retail, Walters said. Pantili also sold its Mitsubishi dealership in Princeton, W.Va., to Stephens Automotive Group in March.
Walters said the dealership, which he renamed Friendship Hyundai of Princeton, marks its first store in West Virginia, despite the area being familiar, he said.
The other 11 Friendship Automotive dealerships are in western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee, where those states converge with Virginia and West Virginia.