Ciocca Dealerships and McGovern Automotive among buyers

Two of the largest dealership groups in the country expanded their footprints this month while a regional group as well as a partnership also bought stores.

Here’s a look at the deals involving domestic and import stores in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Alabama and Indiana.

Two transactions involved an auto retailer ranked on Automotive Newslist of the top 150 dealership groups.

Ciocca expands in Pennsylvania

Ciocca Dealerships acquired its second Stellantis dealership with a Pennsylvania purchase this month.

The group on May 15 bought Forrer Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram in Duncannon, Pa., from dealer Jeff Forrer. The store was renamed Ciocca Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram of Duncannon.

Duncannon is north of Harrisburg.

It marks Ciocca’s first acquisition since its August purchase of Flemington Car & Truck Country in New Jersey, the company confirmed.

Ciocca Dealerships, of Allentown, Pa., ranks No. 51 on Automotive News‘ list of the top 150 dealership groups based in the U.S., retailing 15,247 new vehicles in 2022.

McGovern Automotive buys Stellantis store

Growing McGovern Automotive Group made its first dealership acquisition of 2023 with a May purchase.

McGovern Automotive on May 16 bought Acton Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram in Massachusetts from Bill Cunningham and Coleman Hoyt, according to Joe Ozog.

Ozog, president of Ozog Consulting Group in Scottsdale, Ariz., along with Mike Murphy, principal, represented the sellers in the transaction.

The dealership was renamed McGovern Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram of Acton. Acton is northwest of Boston.

The acquisition follows McGovern’s December purchase of a Ford dealership, also in Massachusetts. McGovern also bought Volvo, Jaguar-Land Rover, Kia, Subaru, Chevrolet, Hyundai and Stellantis dealerships in 2022.

McGovern Automotive, of Newton, Mass., ranks No. 65 on Automotive News‘ list of the top 150 dealership groups based in the U.S., retailing 13,074 new vehicles in 2022.

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Sons Automotive adds two stores

Sons Automotive Group bought two dealerships in Montgomery, Ala., in part because they’re in a “single-point” market — that is, without competing, same-brand stores, said Clay Nalley, CEO of the Atlanta group.

Sons Automotive on Jan. 17 bought the former Brewbaker Motors, a Stellantis dealership, and Brewbaker Kia, from selling dealer Dick Brewbaker.

They stores were renamed Sons Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram-Fiat and Sons Kia of Montgomery, respectively.

Nalley is dealer principal for the Montgomery stores. He and his brothers, Slater and Street Nalley, are co-owners of Sons Automotive. Their father is Atlanta-area dealer Jim Nalley.

The brothers grew up around their father’s group, but Jim Nalley insisted they learn the business by working at dealerships outside the family business. Nalley sold his dealerships to Asbury Automotive Group Inc. in 1997. In 2006, the brothers formed Sons Automotive.

For the two Montgomery stores and two other Sons Automotive dealerships, Hank Phillips is dealer-operator and a co-owner, Clay Nalley said. Phillips is a former regional president for AutoNation Inc.

Gerrick Wilkins, vice president of buy-sell firm Dealer Support Network, said he represented the buyer but worked with both parties on the transaction. Dealer Support Network has offices in Winnsboro, Texas, and Leeds, Ala.

Sons Automotive also owns dealerships in Georgia and Tennessee.

Partners buy second store

The former Fuqua Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram in Dunkirk, Ind., is the second dealership business partners Scott Nuttle and Rob Bechtel have purchased together.

The partners bought the store on Feb. 14 from Rock Fuqua and his wife and co-owner, Kathy Fuqua.

The Dunkirk store was renamed Glass Capital Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram in honor of Dunkirk’s nickname as being the glass capital of Indiana. Dunkirk is in eastern Indiana.

The partners’ first purchase together was St. Marys Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram in St. Marys, Ohio, about an hour east of Dunkirk, in 2014, Bechtel, vice president of both stores, said in a phone interview.

The partners were managers at the St. Marys store before they bought it. Even as co-owners, Nuttle retains the title of operations manager and Bechtel is finance and insurance manager. Nuttle is dealer principal for both stores.

Bechtel said the Dunkirk store was a good match for the St. Marys store. Both have the same Stellantis brands and both are in small markets, so there aren’t a lot of other new-car dealerships in the immediate areas, he said.

Dunkirk is within online shopping distance of much bigger Indiana markets, such as Muncie, Fort Wayne and the Indianapolis metro area, Bechtel said. The new owners intend to put more resources into attracting online leads from those bigger markets, he said.

“I think it’s a sleeping giant,” Bechtel said of the Dunkirk store.

Rock Fuqua said in a phone interview that after working in the dealership for 47 years he intends to retire “at least for now. The car business kind of gets in your blood.”

Fuqua’s father, the late Lowell Fuqua, bought the dealership in 1969, and Rock Fuqua bought it from his father in 1998, said Steve Corle, director of the Plains region for buy-sell firm Tim Lamb Group of Columbus, Ohio. Corle represented the seller on the Dunkirk transaction but worked with both parties.

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