Automobile

LaFontaine, Flow Automotive, Sewell Family and dealer Dominguez Drawe acquire stores

Four dealerships changed hands in the third quarter in four deals that involved luxury- and domestic-brand stores.

Here’s a quick look at the deals. Two transactions involved groups ranked on Automotive News‘ top 150 dealership groups listing.

More growth in Michigan for LaFontaine

LaFontaine Automotive Group, one of the largest privately held dealership groups in the country, has purchased a Michigan Buick-GMC dealership group that last year sued General Motors and GM Financial over allegations of unfair termination of floorplan agreements and racial discrimination.

LaFontaine of Highland, Mich., on Sept. 9 bought Superior Buick-GMC in Dearborn, Mich., from Tanya Robin and Basam Robin.

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. The dealership was renamed LaFontaine Buick-GMC of Dearborn. It marks LaFontaine’s fourth Buick-GMC store and marks its third acquisition since the beginning of July.

In July, LaFontaine bought Hyundai, Mazda and Volkswagen dealerships near Detroit in Livonia, Mich., from Ralph Thayer Automotive and purchased Signature Lincoln in Owosso, Mich., from the Joe Falzon-owned Signature Auto Group.

LaFontaine now has 48 franchises at 28 retail locations — all in Michigan — plus 10 collision centers in the state.

The group said Robert Simmons, executive general manager of GM brands for the group, will oversee the dealership. Shadrick Bennett has been named the store’s general manager. He also serves as general manager of LaFontaine Chevrolet in Dexter, Mich.

The Robins in May 2020 filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Detroit. GM denied the allegations and a judge dismissed most of the claims against GM. The case continues, and GM Financial also is seeking a motion to dismiss, Steven Blatt, a partner in the Bellavia Blatt law firm in Mineola, N.Y., and lawyer for the Robins, told Automotive News.

Blatt said the sale of the Dearborn store wasn’t related to the lawsuit and that the Robins still own a Buick-Cadillac store in Battle Creek, Mich.

LaFontaine CEO Ryan LaFontaine said he sees a “tremendous opportunity” to grow the Buick and GMC brands in the Dearborn area.

“This dealership was a local powerhouse back in the day and we are eager to reconnect with previous customers and deliver an unmatched customer experience — from sales to service, [and] parts to body shop,” he said in a statement.

LaFontaine ranks No. 43 on Automotive News‘ list of the top 150 dealership groups based in the U.S., retailing 19,565 new vehicles in 2020.

Asbury sells Virginia BMW dealership

Flow Automotive Cos. on Monday expanded its presence in the Charlottesville, Va., market with the purchase of BMW of Charlottesville from Asbury Automotive Group.

“We are excited to add to our footprint in the Charlottesville market and could not ask for a better franchise than BMW,” Don Flow, CEO of Flow Automotive Cos., said in a statement. “I attended university in Charlottesville and am personally connected to this amazing community.”

Flow Automotive of Winston-Salem, N.C., also owns an Audi-Porsche-Volkswagen dealership and Mazda store in Charlottesville, according to its website. Flow Automotive has 45 franchises spread across North Carolina and Virginia. BMW of Charlottesville is Flow Automotive’s second BMW dealership.

The BMW store was Asbury’s lone location in Charlottesville and the group has exited that market. It now has two stores remaining in Virginia: Richmond BMW Midlothian and Richmond BMW, according to its website.

In August, Asbury bought a Subaru dealership in Colorado.

The Presidio Group, a Denver- and Atlanta-based investment banking and advisory firm, represented Asbury in the sale of BMW of Charlottesville.

Asbury, of Duluth, Ga., ranks No. 6 on Automotive News‘ list of the top 150 dealership groups based in the U.S., retailing 95,165 new vehicles in 2020.

Expansion in Oklahoma

Ivette Dominguez Drawe, Michael Drawe and Rick Jones have acquired an Acura dealership in Oklahoma.

The trio on Sept. 3 purchased Don Carlton Acura of Tulsa from Brenda Carlton. The store has been renamed Post Oak Acura.

It’s the second acquisition in Oklahoma for Dominguez Drawe, who with the partners in late 2019 acquired a Toyota store in Oklahoma City that operates as Post Oak Toyota.

Dominguez Drawe now has six dealerships across Colorado, Illinois, Missouri and Oklahoma. She was named by Automotive News as a 100 Leading Women in the North American Auto Industry honoree in 2020.

The Acura store launched in 1995 as part of the family-owned and operated Don Carlton Auto Group. Carlton is retaining Don Carlton Honda of Tulsa.

Dominguez Drawe and her husband, Michael Drawe, met while they worked for Sonic Automotive Inc. In 2005, they bought their first dealership, Alpine Buick-GMC in Littleton, Colo.

In 2017, the Drawes partnered with Jones to buy their second store, Cardinal Buick-GMC in Belleville, Ill. Jones is now a partner and president in four of Dominguez Drawe’s six stores. Michael Drawe is an owner in the six stores.

Performance Brokerage Services, a dealership buy-sell firm in Irvine, Calif., handled the Don Carlton Acura transaction.

Getting bigger in Texas

The Sewell Family of Cos. in Odessa, Texas, led by Collin Sewell, has acquired its first Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram dealership.

Sewell on Aug. 31 bought Benny Boyd Andrews Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep-Ram Truck in Andrews, Texas, from the Benny Boyd Auto Group. The dealership has been renamed Sewell Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram. Andrews is a city near the New Mexico border and the group already has a Chevrolet-Buick-GMC dealership there.

Collin Sewell, president of the group, said in a statement: “We’re looking forward to welcoming the Benny Boyd team members and clients to experience the best of what they’ve had in the past, now with the Sewell team.”

The Sewell group has been growing over the past few years, adding a BMW store in Midland, Texas, in 2017, a Cadillac-Buick-GMC store in 2019 in Midland and a Cadillac store in Odessa last year, according to its website.

Edward Sewell in 1911 founded the Sewell Family of Cos. Now in its fourth generation, the business has dealerships representing 11 brands in western Texas.

Bill Scrivner and Wes Hamilton of Pinnacle Mergers & Acquisitions, a buy/sell firm in Frisco, Texas, represented the seller in the Sewell-Boyd transaction.

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