Romeo Auto Group in August 2022 acquired a Volkswagen dealership in Kingston, N.Y.
Three dealership groups added single stores in separate third-quarter transactions.
Here’s a look at the deals involving domestic and import dealerships in Maine, New Hampshire and New York.
Key Auto adds another Ford dealership
Key Auto Group on Aug. 9 added its third Ford store, purchasing Rockland Ford in Thomaston, Maine, from Tony Esposito.
The store was renamed Key Ford of Rockland. Thomaston is located in the Mid-Coast region of Maine.
Steve Houghton, regional vice president of Key Auto, said the deal was sketched out during late-night drinks with Esposito.
“We scratched out a deal with a crayon on a cocktail napkin,” Houghton told Automotive News. “Next thing I know, I bought his dealership.”
Houghton said Key Auto is “in acquisition mode. [Esposito] had an opportunity to cash in, we’re looking to acquire stores, and we were able to work it out very quickly.”
Houghton said Esposito wanted to focus on his other businesses, which include another Ford store in Maine and a couple of used-car lots. He also owns an equipment rental business, Houghton said.
Key Auto, of Portsmouth, N.H., has dealerships across New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont and Florida, representing 12 brands. The group also has used-vehicle stores and collision centers.
In March, Key Auto bought a Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram dealership in Marianna, Fla.
The group has a number of acquisitions lined up, said Houghton, though he wouldn’t provide details.
As for Key Ford of Rockland, Houghton and the group hopes to expand used-vehicle inventory and grow used-vehicle sales.
“Our goal of purchasing this, as we do with any location we purchase, is to expand our used-car operation,” Houghton said. “Our owner is a used-car guy, has been for years.”
Kaplan Auto adds dealership in New Hampshire
Kaplan Auto Group on Sept. 15 added its fourth New Hampshire store, purchasing Dan O’Brien Subaru in Claremont.
The store, sold by Dan O’Brien Auto Group, was renamed Claremont Subaru. Claremont is east of the Vermont-New Hampshire border.
The sale allowed Dan O’Brien Auto to focus on other dealerships in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, according Nancy Phillips Associates, a buy-sell firm in Exeter, N.H., which represented the seller in the transaction.
Sheree Kaplan-Allen, president of the group, is the second-generation leader of the business started by her father, Jake, in the 1950s. Kaplan-Allen took over following her father’s death in 1991 and bought it in 1993, Kaplan-Allen told Automotive News.
In 2001, Kaplan Auto moved its headquarters from Providence to Warwick, R.I. The company expanded into its second state, Massachusetts, in 2006, then bought its first New Hampshire store, Milford Subaru, in 2015. Last December, it added a Toyota store in Rochester, N.H.
Kaplan-Allen said she visits her stores regularly. “I make my rounds,” she told Automotive News. “I live in the middle [of the store locations], so I go up to the highway and go either left or right.
“And every time I walk into one of those stores, I say, ‘I wish I could come here every day.’ ”
Eddy Allen, Kaplan-Allen’s son, will mark 10 years working for the business this January, she said. He is a 2022 Automotive News 40 Under 40 honoree.
Kaplan Auto now operates six dealerships selling five brands — Jaguar, Land Rover, Toyota, Mercedes-Benz and Subaru — in three states.
The company has another dealership acquisition expected to close in December, Kaplan-Allen said.
Romeo Auto adds Volkswagen dealership
Romeo Auto Group in early August acquired its fifth franchised dealership, said Joe Romeo, an executive manager for the group.
It purchased Volkswagen of Kingston in New York on Aug. 8 from Vinny DeGerolamo, Romeo told Automotive News. Kingston is between New York City and Albany.
The store was renamed Romeo Volkswagen of Kingston.
Romeo Auto is a family-owned business that has operated for more than 40 years, according to the group’s website. The group began in 1981 with a used-car dealership and purchased its first new-vehicle dealership in 2000, Joe Romeo said.
The family bought the Volkswagen dealership for its location, Romeo said.
This is the group’s third dealership in Kingston. All Romeo dealerships are in New York, where the Romeos are from, he said.
Romeo Auto also sells Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Kia, Ford and Toyota vehicles. The group owns a used-car dealership, two collision centers and an auto repair shop as well, according to its website.
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