City Auto Group enters new state
Expanding City Auto Group entered a new state and added a new brand to its portfolio with an April acquisition.
City Auto, run by partners Anthony Scala and Shawn Kohli, bought Schlossmann Dodge City Chrysler-Jeep-Ram-Fiat in Brookfield, Wis., from brothers Mike Schlossmann and Brad Schlossmann on April 11, according to Scala.
The dealership was renamed City Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram-Fiat of Brookfield. Brookfield is west of Milwaukee.
“One of my good buddies has a Chrysler store in Chicago, and he raves about the brand,” Scala told Automotive News. “And then obviously doing business in Wisconsin, or Indiana, as we have a store in Indiana, [the] cost of doing business is a fraction of that instead of Illinois. We always wanted to get into that Milwaukee market. We saw this as a great opportunity.”
The Stellantis dealership acquisition follows City Auto’s September purchase of a Chevrolet dealership in suburban Chicago.
The Brookfield dealership is the fifth store for the group. City Auto, based in Chicago, also owns two Volkswagen dealerships in Illinois and one Volkswagen store in northwest Indiana.
Rosen Automotive expands in Wisconsin
Dealer Jeff Rosen of Rosen Automotive Group in Milwaukee has added a new-car dealership — to grow to five, all in Wisconsin — with the purchase of the former Francois Ford in Belleville.
The transaction closed April 4. The dealership was renamed Rosen Ford Belleville. Belleville is south of Madison.
The Francois family founded its original business in 1939 as a gas station, which also sold and serviced Case tractors, selling dealer Rick Francois said in a phone interview.
A new-car franchise for Nash came later. At the time, the Nash Rambler was built in Kenosha, Wis., Francois said. The family dropped Nash in favor of a Ford franchise in 1955, still at the gas station location, he said.
In 2016, the Ford dealership moved to a new facility in Belleville. Francois said that he and his brother, Ed Francois, were 50-50 co-owners. Rick was dealer principal and president, and Ed was vice president, Rick Francois said.
The brothers intend to stay active in their other businesses, including two Byrider buy-here, pay-here stores. But they decided to cut some of their commitments and sell the Ford dealership, he said. Over time, they also sold “all but a couple” out of 17 gas stations and convenience stores they owned, Rick Francois said.
“It isn’t anything to do with the industry or with Ford. We expect great things from Ford. I think it’s the best product lineup they’ve ever had, and I’ve seen a lot over the years,” said Rick Francois. “Our employees deserve young, energetic leadership.”
Across the country, it’s also a seller’s market for dealerships. “It is absolute craziness out there right now,” said Andy Gill of Gill Automotive Group, a sell-side firm in St. Augustine, Fla., who represented the sellers in the transaction.
Gill Automotive also advised Rosen in his March 2021 purchase of the former Hyundai Greenfield dealership in Wisconsin, which Rosen Automotive renamed Rosen Hyundai Greenfield.
Andy Gill said: “When dealerships pop up, unless they’re priced out of the universe, boom, they’re gone.”