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West Herr acquires LeBrun Toyota

The West Herr Automotive Group has added Canandaigua’s LeBrun Toyota to its inventory. It is the Buffalo car dealer’s 28th location and fifth in the Rochester market.

West Herr LeBrun Toyota opened its doors on Monday. Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

“We have immense respect for the LeBrun organization and are excited to welcome their team as part of the West Herr family,” said West Herr President and CEO Scott Bieler. “We also are very excited to become a part of and getting involved in the Canandaigua community, and look forward to getting to know the LeBrun customers and making new ones as well.”

LeBrun Toyota features an updated, state-of-the-art facility and has been a successful brand in the Canandaigua market, officials said.

West Herr was founded in 1950 as a single point Ford dealership in Hamburg, Erie County. It is the largest automotive group in New York state and has facilities in Erie, Niagara, Monroe and Ontario counties. West Herr represents 23 auto franchises and employs nearly 2,200 people. Last year the company sold more than 51,000 vehicles and serviced more than 450,000 vehicles.

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
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Bob Johnson acquires Marketplace Mazda

Bob Johnson Auto Group has expanded its family of dealerships with the addition of Marketplace Mazda. It is the second expansion for one of the region’s largest dealer groups this year; this spring, Bob Johnson acquired Genesee Valley Ford and Genesee Valley Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram in Avon.

“I started my automotive career at a Mazda dealership,” said Bob Johnson Co-owner John Love in a statement Monday. “I’m thrilled to bring this powerful brand under the Bob Johnson umbrella.”

Bob Johnson Auto Group now offers Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Ford, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram and Mazda brands. Ian Love will serve as general manager at Bob Johnson Mazda.

“While it’s been challenging navigating business during COVID, we are building an incredible team that represents the Mazda brand perfectly,” Love said.

Bob Johnson’s Mazda store leads its district in sales, officials said.

“We’re excited to offer the Mazda brand to the Rochester community and look forward to introducing a new state-of-the-art facility in the Spring of 2021,” Love added.

Bob Johnson Mazda is looking to add 10 to 20 new jobs at the Mazda location.

“We’re always seeking to grow and improve what we offer our employees and customers. Our recent expansion allows us to build on our success in serving customer’s auto needs while continuing to invest in our region and grow our overall position in the products we represent,” said Bob Johnson Co-owner Greg Stahl.

Bob Johnson Auto Group employs roughly 600 employees at its 10 Rochester area locations and revenues are projected to exceed $800 Million by the end of 2020.

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

New-car sales here fall in September, mirror nationwide trend

car-buying-car-key-car-purchase-97079Sales of new vehicles in Monroe County in September fell to its lowest point since April, Rochester Automobile Dealers’ Association Inc. reported recently.

Area car dealers sold 3,974 new vehicles last month, down nearly 9 percent from 4,350 in August and down nearly 9 percent from 4,337 in September 2017. RADA historical data shows that new-car sales typically decline from August to September.

RADA does not report used-car sales.

For the first nine months, area dealers sold 36,010 new vehicles, down more than 3 percent from last year’s 37,257 sold during the same time period.

An ongoing slump in the auto market had most manufacturers reporting lower sales in September. Ford Motor Co. reported an 11 percent year-over-year drop in sales, while General Motors Co.’s decline was estimated at nearly 16 percent. The company no longer reports monthly sales, but it said its third-quarter deliveries fell 11 percent.

One of just a handful of manufacturers that grew in September, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reported a 14.5 percent increase in U.S. deliveries last month.

U.S. auto deliveries totaled 1.44 million in September, a 5.5 percent decrease from the 1.53 million units sold in September 2017. Still, the seasonally adjusted, annualized rate of car sales reached 17.54 million in September, hitting the 17 million mark for the seventh time this year.

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Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

Monroe County car sales drop in April

Car Keys and RemoteNew car sales in Monroe County dropped nearly 19 percent in April compared to March and nearly 9 percent from April 2017 sales, Rochester Automobile Dealers’ Association Inc. reported.

Area car dealers sold 3,723 new vehicles last month, down from 4,575 in March and 4,076 a year ago. RADA historical data shows that in most recent years, sales of new cars fall from March to April.

New car sales this year total 15,004, down slightly from the 15,122 that were sold in the first four months of 2017. Last year was a record year for area dealers’ new car sales.

RADA does not report used-car sales, but nationally, spring typically is a strong season for dealers, since many people receive their tax rebate checks and immediately use them to purchase a used car or truck. According to Black Book, a division of Hearst Business Media, this season four mainstream car segments increased on average 3 percent, including: subcompacts, 2.6 percent; compacts, 5.3 percent; mid-size, 3.1 percent; and full-size, 1 percent.

A recent survey from the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association found that 42 percent of the respondents said they expected economic conditions to improve in the quarter ahead, down from 63 percent in the first quarter survey in 2017, while retail sales growth expectations fell to 50 percent from 70 percent a year ago and 67 percent in the previous quarter.

The overall picture shows NIADA members expected business to stay steady with no major uptick in customer traffic or corresponding sales heading into the mid-year of 2018.

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

Monroe Motor Products acquired by global giant GPC

monroe-motor-productsA century-old downtown automotive products distributor has been acquired by a $13 billion global company for an undisclosed sum.

“Our company has entered into a definitive agreement with the Genuine Parts Co., effective Nov. 1,” said Monroe Motor Products Corp. President and CEO Michael Gordon. “Our company and all of our employees are overjoyed and thoroughly excited with our new business partner. Our total business will remain unchanged.”

Monroe Motor Products has supplied automotive parts to independent and corporate-owned retail stores since its founding in 1917. The company has 180 employees, including roughly 50 at its headquarters and distribution center on Central Avenue and the remainder at 16 Parts Plus stores across the state.

Employment will remain unchanged under the new ownership, Gordon said.

Parts Plus is a national, programmed automotive distribution group run by dozens of entrepreneurs, including Gordon, throughout the country. Programmed groups are buying groups that combine purchases for better pricing and marketing advantages.

“We will still be operating under the Parts Plus Auto Store banner as we have done so successfully over the years,” Gordon said. “I and my 93-year-old father, Burt, will also stay with the company for the foreseeable future.”

GPC was founded in 1928 when Carlyle Fraser purchased Motor Parts Depot in Atlanta, Ga. Today the company is a leading parts distributor with more than 3,650 operations and roughly 39,600 employees worldwide.

GPC this week reported sales for the third quarter of $4.1 billion, up 4 percent from the prior-year period. Year-to-date sales were up nearly 5 percent to $12.1 billion. Company officials said fourth-quarter plans include a focus on organic growth, as well as cost cutting and improving profitability.

In North America, GPC parts are sold primarily under the NAPA brand name.

Monroe Motor Parts was co-founded by Gordon’s grandfather, Max, in 1917 when he returned from serving in World War I. Max Gordon partnered with his brother, Isaac, to acquire a fleet of taxicabs called Pullman Taxicab Co.

Michael Gordon, center, is joined by his leadership team at Monroe Motor Products' Central Avenue headquarters.
Michael Gordon, center, is joined by his leadership team at Monroe Motor Products’ Central Avenue headquarters.

The company evolved into a warehouse distributor when the brothers realized it was becoming difficult to find replacement parts for their vehicles, as well as mechanics to work on their fleet. The duo formed Gordon Motor Parts, which stocked parts they needed for their taxi business, and expanded it to provide service to car dealerships and garages.

During World War II, Gordon Motor Parts closed many branch locations and focused on Army vehicles. Monroe Motor Products was born to enable the Gordons to purchase parts as a warehouse distributor.

In 1947, after serving in the Navy and graduating from Ohio State University, Max Gordon’s son, Burt, joined the company as general manager. The younger Gordon added salespeople and worked to strengthen the business by servicing independent stores, or jobbers, throughout New York.

The company flourished throughout the 1950s and 1960s as cars became more popular and more complex.

During the 1970s, Burt Gordon took the reins and his son, Michael, joined the company in 1973.

Michael Gordon called the sale a win/win for Monroe Motor Products and its employees.

“We share the same basic philosophies and principles,” he said of the two companies. “We both value our biggest asset, and our biggest asset is our people.”

Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

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