Email us


(775) 993-3600

AutoNation buys Stellantis, Subaru, Volkswagen, Mazda and Hyundai dealerships in California

AutoNation purchased five dealerships from Bob Baker Auto Group near San Diego. The stores operate within Carlsbad Car Country auto mall.

Retail auto giant AutoNation Inc. purchased the final five dealerships from another familiar name near San Diego on June 5: Bob Baker Auto Group.

AutoNation acquired Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram-Fiat, Subaru, Hyundai-Genesis, Volkswagen and Mazda stores in Carlsbad, Calif., Bob Baker Auto CEO Chris Baker said.

AutoNation representatives did not return requests for comment.

Baker told Automotive News he chose to sell for strategic reasons, including wanting to avoid industry challenges moving forward.

“California continues to get more and more complicated to be an employer,” he said. “My thought was either I need to get big or get out.”

Baker said a big part of the automotive business he loves is working with his employees. He felt “going big” would take him further away from them.

The stores operate in the San Diego metro area, within Carlsbad Car Country auto mall, a high-volume area, according to Erin Kerrigan, managing director of Kerrigan Advisors, a dealership sell-side firm in Incline Village, Nev., who represented Baker in the sale.

“There are very few markets with a view of the Pacific Ocean and that have the kind of volume that Carlsbad represents,” said Kerrigan. “So buyer demand for these franchises was particularly high. For AutoNation, it was particularly strategic given their presence already in the auto mall” with a BMW dealership.

The stores were the last of the Bob Baker group. The deal included a Genesis dealership that AutoNation will close, Kerrigan said.

Baker said he bought out his father, the late Bob Baker, over 10 years, aside from a few stores his father had sold separately.

Bob Baker, who died in 2021 just shy of his 90th birthday, bought his first dealership in 1965 in Indiana. He moved to California and built up his group, eventually owning more than 20 franchised dealerships.

Chris Baker said he knew AutoNation would bring the stability he wanted for his company and employees, most of whom stayed on with AutoNation. Because he leases the property the dealerships sit on, Baker said he wanted a reliable tenant, and knew AutoNation offered that, too.

AutoNation purchased four Colorado stores in December. In July and August, it divested three dealerships, including an Audi store it sold to Sonic Automotive Inc.

AutoNation, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., ranks No. 2 on Automotive News’ list of the top 150 dealership groups based in the U.S., with retail sales of 229,971 new vehicles in 2022.

Share this article on:

Buyer Database

If you are a buyer in today’s market, Kerrigan Advisors welcomes the opportunity to learn about your acquisition criteria and include you in Kerrigan Advisors’ proprietary Buyer Database.

Investor Database

We welcome the chance to learn more about your acquisition criteria so that we can contact you in the event a client matches your investment profile.

We Look Forward to Connecting With You

Contact us to learn more about Kerrigan Advisors’ client services, or to have a conversation about the buy/sell market. All of our conversations are 100% confidential.