Kia dealerships now on buyers’ wish list

Automotive News has so far tracked five Kia dealerships trading hands in 2023. Tim Lamb Group, a buy-sell firm in Columbus, Ohio, said it represented Coughlin Automotive Group in the purchase of two Kia dealerships in Ohio on Jan. 5, while Randy Marion Automotive Group bought a Kia store in Salisbury, N.C., in March.

At least 27 Kia dealerships, or about 3.5 percent of the brand’s 775 stores, changed hands nationwide last year, Automotive News estimated, while it tracked 24 Kia dealerships that changed hands in 2021.

Mike Sims, president of buy-sell firm Pinnacle Mergers & Acquisitions, in Frisco, Texas, said that not long ago, if a Kia dealership was part of a group, a buyer might have reluctantly agreed to take on the brand.

“But now I don’t know anybody that would not like to have” a Kia dealership, Sims said.

Ken Ganley, CEO of Ken Ganley Automotive Group, of Broadview Heights, Ohio, bought his first Kia dealership, a store in Medina, Ohio, in 2020. Last year, his group bought four more Kia dealerships across Ohio and West Virginia.

While the group has gone through other periods of acquisitions, Ganley said buying this many dealerships of the same brand is unique for his company.

“I love the brand,” he said. “I love what they’ve done with the vehicles, with the marketing. I think the executive management is fantastic. I think our regional management, in both the central region and the southern region, are outstanding. They’ve got the right people, they’ve got the right cars, they’ve got the right message. It’s all fitting together.”

On the most recent National Automobile Dealers Association’s Dealer Attitude Survey, Kia rose one spot to No. 6. The survey serves as an NADA report card on dealers’ relationships with the automakers they represent.

Ganley said his group is in the process of updating the signage of its Kia dealerships to reflect the brand’s new logo, and the front of each store is getting a new black-and-white exterior.

Ken Ganley Automotive ranks No. 15 on Automotive News’ list of the top 150 dealership groups based in the U.S., retailing 36,079 new vehicles in 2021.

Morgan Automotive Group, of Tampa, Fla., bought two Kia dealerships in Florida from LMP Automotive Holdings in December and another Kia store, also in Florida, from Fuccillo Automotive Group last May.

The group now has seven Kia dealerships in its portfolio.

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