Ford, Nissan dealerships sell in four states

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Three Ford dealerships and a Nissan dealership traded hands in single-store, first- and second-quarter transactions.

Here’s a look at the deals involving dealerships in Michigan, Illinois, South Carolina and Alabama. Two of the transactions involved groups ranked on Automotive News‘ top 150 dealership groups list.

Growing megadealer Serra Automotive Inc. of Fenton, Mich., has purchased another domestic-brand dealership in the Detroit area.
Serra on Monday bought Tom Holzer Ford in Farmington Hills, Mich., from Connie Holzer.

The dealership was renamed Serra Ford Farmington Hills. In a note to employees about the acquisition, Serra Automotive Chairman Joe Serra said Tom Holzer died in 2006 and his wife took over the business and helped grow it into one of the nation’s highest-volume Ford stores. The automaker confirmed that Tom Holzer Ford ranked No. 20 in new-vehicle Ford sales nationally in 2021.

Serra also said Ben Heer was named general manager.
The transaction is Serra Automotive’s second in a month. Serra Automotive on April 4 bought Shelton Buick-GMC in Rochester Hills, Mich. In February, 2021, it bought Buff Whelan Chevrolet in Sterling Heights, Mich., then the nation’s highest-volume Chevy dealership.

Serra Automotive has dealerships across Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio and Tennessee. It ranks No. 12 on Automotive News‘ list of the top 150 dealership groups based in the U.S., retailing 40,047 new vehicles in 2021.

William Attrachi has purchased Velde Ford in Pekin, Ill., as the foundation for a new dealership group, according to Dealer Solutions Mergers and Acquisitions, which represented the seller in the transaction. Jennifer Rafael of the firm’s Chicago office was the broker.

Tim Saurs, owner of Velde Ford, told Automotive News that he retired from vehicle sales after the March 4 closing.

“I was doing it for 43 years and I was ready,” Saurs said.

The store’s nearly 35 employees were retained following the sale and the dealership was renamed Gallery Ford Pekin.

Attrachi said he and his business partner are looking for further opportunities to expand. Attrachi would not disclose the name of his partner or further details about their business, citing a nondisclosure agreement. Their new group, Zak Automotive Group, is looking to expand near Pekin and surrounding areas in Illinois.

“We’re looking at domestic brands and some imports that fall under the same rooftop,” said Attrachi, the group’s CEO.

The sale also included a body shop and a separate used-vehicle-only center, which Attrachi said is large enough for about 250 vehicles.

“We’re hiring new people, adding salespeople, [a] service director, parts director,” he said. “The body shop wasn’t being used during the pandemic, so we’re in the process of reopening that.”

Krause Auto Group of Alpharetta, Ga., north of Atlanta, in March bought its 13th dealership, the former Clinton Family Ford, in Rock Hill, S.C.

The dealership, purchased on March 28 from Jim Clinton and the Clinton family, was renamed Rock Hill Ford. Rock Hill is south of Charlotte, N.C., just across the border into South Carolina.

Clinton plans to retire, Krause Auto dealer principal Vernon Krause said. Clinton Family Ford was Clinton’s only dealership, he said.

The Rock Hill Ford store helps diversify the Krause group’s brand mix and its geographic footprint, Krause said.

Krause Auto already had a presence in South Carolina. It also has dealerships in North Carolina, Florida and Georgia, Krause said.

His son, Zack Krause, is co-COO of the group. Business partner Dan Parks is the other co-COO, Vernon Krause said in a phone interview. Parks owns a stake in seven of the group’s stores, including the newest one, Vernon Krause said.

The group sells Ford, Lincoln, Hyundai, Genesis, BMW, Rolls-Royce, Mercedes-Benz, Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Lotus, McLaren, and Koenigsegg vehicles, the dealer said.

Krause said before the purchase, the Ford dealership was selling an average of about 60 vehicles per month, new and used combined, and he’s hoping to boost that.

Krause Auto ranks No. 81 on Automotive News‘ list of the top 150 dealership groups based in the U.S., retailing 12,507 new vehicles in 2021.

Nooris Merchant and business partner Hussein Mawani in January purchased their first franchised new-car dealership, a Nissan store in Troy, Ala.

Formerly known as Troy Nissan, the store was renamed Merchant Nissan.

Nooris Merchant is the store’s dealer principal and the partners also co-own used-vehicle dealerships, broker Gerrick Wilkins said.

Wilkins said the selling dealer, Duane Webb, retired and the transaction closed on Jan. 18. Troy is southeast of Montgomery.

Wilkins is vice president and buyer’s broker representative for Dealer Support Network, with offices in Winnsboro, Texas, and Leeds, Ala. Eddie Puente, also a vice president for the firm, helped facilitate the deal.

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