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Sonic’s expansion of EchoPark, plus other dealer group moves

CARY, N.C. - In addition to a few other dealer group moves this week, Sonic Automotive said Wednesday it has opened an EchoPark delivery center in Baton Rouge, La., the second location in the state for Sonic’s chain of standalone used-car stores.

There is also an EchoPark delivery center in New Orleans.

Sonic now has 33 EchoPark locations nationwide.

“We are excited to continue serving the needs of guests in Louisiana with the opening of our newest EchoPark delivery center in Baton Rouge,” Sonic and EchoPark chief executive officer David Smith said in a news release. “Our teammates are committed to providing an exceptional selection of high-quality, pre-owned vehicles, priced up to $3,000 below market, both in-store and online, with a hassle-free, guest-centered experience from start to finish.”

In other dealer group news, Continental Motors has sold its Continental Honda store in Countryside, Ill., to Gerald Auto Group, which is based in Chicago. That’s according to a news release from Kerrigan Advisors, which represented Continental in the sale.

“Honda is the No. 1 selling brand in Chicago, and Countryside is the third highest volume auto retail market in Chicago, so this was an exceptional acquisition opportunity with much interest in the market. It was critical that Kerrigan Advisors identify the right buyer to match Continental Honda’s stellar reputation,” said Gabe Robleto, who is vice president of the sell-side advisory at Kerrigan Advisors, in a news release.

“We are honored to represent Jay Weinberger again and to successfully manage his sale process to the Gerald Auto Group, a family-owned business with same values and goals for their business,” Robleto said

Elsewhere, Morrie’s Automotive Group has purchased Grand Ledge Ford Lincoln and Merrill Ford Okemos.

The Presidio Group advised Barry Merrill, president and owner of the dealerships, on that transaction.

“As I made the difficult decision to sell my dealerships and turn to the next chapter in my life, there was no better team to turn to for assistance than Presidio,” Merrill said in a news release from Presidio.

“I wanted a smooth transaction while making sure my loyal team members, many of whom have been with me for years, would be in good hands,” Merrill said. “The experienced professionals on the Presidio team understood my objectives and found the perfect buyer in Morrie’s, which has a history of dedication to both its employees and the communities in which it operates.”

Morrie’s Automotive Group CEO Lance Iserman said: “We were thrilled when The Presidio Group approached us with the opportunity to acquire our first franchises in Michigan.

“We were looking for strategic acquisitions in the upper Midwest, and these domestic brands have very loyal customers and great market appeal. We look forward to extending the fine customer service we are famous for to Michiganders, as well as being involved in the local communities,” Iserman said.

And in a LinkedIn post on Wednesday, Castle Automotive Group, which operates dealerships in Illinois and Indiana, announced it has purchased Fox Valley Volkswagen of Schaumburg in Illinois.

In comments included with the post, CEO Joe Castle said: “We are excited to expand our presence in Illinois with one of the greatest car companies in the world Volkswagen of America, Inc, especially in such a key market like Schaumburg, Illinois. The acquisition of Fox Valley Volkswagen of Schaumburg will further diversify our group’s overall portfolio and add to our geographic reach in the Midwest market."

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