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Downtown Auto Group Sells, Minus Felix

A deal to sell the Downtown L.A. Auto Group, composed of eight Figueroa Corridor car dealerships and a Nissan dealership in Carson, has closed. The buyer is Medford, Ore.-based giant Lithia Motors.

The Auto Group was an important arm of longtime Downtown property owner the Shammas Group, currently led by CEO Darryl Holter. As it turns out, Holter and Shammas Group are not quite ready to leave the car-selling business: It will retain the oldest and most iconic dealership, Felix Chevrolet, which was founded in 1921.

“We hope the transition will allow the group to continue to offer the quality of sales and service that our customers deserve. We extend a sincere thank you to all our employees for their many years of service and to our loyal customers,” Holter told Los Angeles Downtown News. “And we are returning to our original roots by retaining ownership of Felix Chevrolet. That pesky cat perched on the rooftop of Felix Chevrolet will continue to smile at Angelenos for many years to come.”

Elay Sung, the former chief operating officer of Downtown L.A. Auto Group, will continue to oversee local dealership operations for Lithia Motors as platform vice president. Downtown L.A. Auto Group was represented in the sale by the firm Kerrigan Advisors. No sale price was revealed.

“We know that Lithia’s commitment to its employees and the local community will enable the Shammas family’s auto retail legacy to continue in Los Angeles,” Ryan Kerrigan, managing director of Kerrigan Advisors, said in a prepared statement.

Husband and wife Nickolas and Jeanette Shammas founded Downtown L.A. Auto Group in 1955. The business was most recently owned by their daughters, Diane and Carole Shammas. The seven dealerships sold to Lithia create more than $850 million in revenue each year, according to a press release.

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