Veteran Cleveland dealer Lee Seidman and Cleveland native Roger S. Penske, both alumni of Shaker Heights High School, agreed on a deal bringing the Penske-led UnitedAuto Group into the northern Ohio metropolis for the first time.
UAG purchased Mr. Seid-man's two Mercedes-Benz and two Infiniti stores in the Cleveland suburbs of Bedford and North Olmsted, OH, and appointed James Pilla as president of the new addition to UAG's Midwest region.
Mr. Seidman, who will assist in management of the four stores until the end of calendar 2000, has been a dealer in Cleveland for 42 years, starting with a Simca franchise.
"I'm 68 years old and decided it's time to wind down a little," he said, "and when Roger came along with an offer, I asked myself, 'why not?' He's not only a Cleveland boy like me, with lots of roots here, but I'm familiar with all the consolidators and have great admiration for him as a one-time dealer himself and a CEO of the best group of dealers out there."
Mr. Seidman is keeping ownership of eight other dealerships in the Cleveland market, plus a half-interest in a new Nissan-Suzuki-Kia store in Lakeland, FL.
Still open, but a potential property for sale, is his Auto-Nation USA used-vehicle superstore, which the No. 1 consolidator inherited when it purchased Driver's Mart in 1999.
"I was the Driver's Mart's northern Ohio rep and built a used-car outlet for them," Mr. Seidman says. "We changed the name to AutoNation USA after the sale, and kept it going even when they closed 23 superstores they owned last December.
"We use it as a resource for used cars from the seven franchised dealerships we maintain here in our Motorcars groupntwo Toyota, one each Acura, Chrysler-Plymouth-Jeep, Honda, Pontiac-Oldsmobile and Volvo."
UAG also expanded the Midwest region in its headquarters city of Indianapolis, purchasing the Dellen Olds and Lincoln Mercury stores there from Russel Dellen and opening a new Dodge point in the suburb of Zionsville, IN.
The Dellen dealerships are next door on the 96th Street auto row to the UAG-owned Dan Young Chevrolet-Honda-Isuzu complex. Mr. Young is president of the Midwest region. Newly appointed general manager of the Dellen stores, Jeff Boyd, will report to him.
Another longtime Indianapolis Chevrolet dealer, Bill Estes, will join UAG in running the new Dodge store as a joint venture. Mr. Estes is a son of the late Elliott M. Estes, former president of GM.
In another UAG platform city, Little Rock, AR, UAG purchased Jones Toyota and renamed it Landers Toyota as part of its South Central region. That region's president, Steve Landers, Jr., who runs a high-volume Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep store in Benton, AR, says the Toyota franchise is UAG's first in Arkansas.
No transaction terms were disclosed, but UAG President Sam DiFeo says the Indianapolis moves will add about $74 million and the Cleveland purchase from Mr. Seidman about $100 million to UAG revenues on an annual basis.
UAG also announced appointment of Crislyn A. Penske, Mr. Penske's cousin, as eBusiness director. A CPA, she previously had been with Penske Capital Partners on its financial staff. She holds an MBA from Columbia University and a bachelor's degree from his alma mater, Lehigh University.