Cliff Banks - The Banks Report

Walser, RFJ Dealer Groups Add to Their Empires

August 30, 2016 — The Walser Automotive Group, one of the largest dealer groups in Minnesota, is expanding to the Wichita, KS market acquiring the 10 brand-Wichita Luxury Collection this week.

Meanwhile, Rick Ford’s RFJ Autos closed on the Jordan Automotive Group and its Ford and Toyota dealerships in Mishawaka, IN last week.

Walser’s purchase of the Luxury Collection is the third largest dealership buy-sell of the year by number of stores — behind Holman’s acquisition of the Kuni Automotive Group and AutoNation’s buy of the Allen Samuels group in Texas.

Co-CEOs and brothers Paul and Andrew Walser are building a mini-empire. Walser, which has eight locations selling 15 brands in the Minneapolis area, is adding eight luxury brands with the acquisition — Acura, Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Mercedes Benz and Porsche. A MINI franchise and a AMG franchise are also part of the deal, bringing Walser’s overall store total to eighteen locations selling 21 brands.

Terms of the deal weren’t announced, but $20 million to $25 million is the range TBR kept hearing in the weeks leading up to the acquisition. (We referenced the deal in our May 31 report on buy-sell activity, although not by name: “We know of three deals involving multiple stores that have yet to be announced — one involves several luxury brands in one of the Plains states.”)

The owners, Vic Scholfield, Tom Devlin and Steve Hatchett, were looking to retire. Bobby Cuillo will stay on as managing partner for the Collection. Walser reportedly is planning to double the Luxury Collection’s current 160 person staff. It’s also continuing with construction plans for new facilities for the Porsche, MINI and Acura dealerships, which should open sometime next year.

A new BMW facility, already under construction, is scheduled to open in the spring of 2017.

Scholfield has been part of the Wichita community since the 1950s. He started the group with his brother Dick, who passed away in 2012, as a used car dealership. They then opened one of Honda’s earliest dealerships in the U.S. before adding the Mercedes franchise, which became the foundation of the Luxury Collection.

Today, Scholfield’s son Roger, runs the Honda dealership, which is the top selling Honda store in Kansas. The group also has two Hyundai dealerships and a Buick GMC dealership.

RFJ Auto Partners

RFJ Auto Partners now has 28 dealerships with its acquisition last week of the Jordan group in Indiana. The group, which has two dealerships — Ford and Toyota — was started in 1949 by Jordan Kapson, who died about 10 years ago. His son Craig decided to sell a couple of years ago.

TBR first reported on the RFJ group in 2014 after Rick Ford had partnered with a private equity firm and quietly acquired several dealerships that year. Ford has built one of the fastest growing dealer groups in the U.S. over the last couple of years with locations in Alabama, Idaho, Missouri,Texas, New Mexico, Washington, and now, Indiana.

For more analysis of the dealership buy-sell market, along with the industry’s most comprehensive acquisition list going back to January 2013, Click Here. 

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

Subscribe Now to The Banks Report