Automotive

Rick Case sells Ohio dealerships to Spitzer

Rick Case Automotive Group has sold its two Ohio dealerships to focus on its stores in metro Atlanta and South Florida.

Rita Case, CEO of the company based in Sunrise, Fla., said the dealership group this week sold Rick Case Hyundai-Genesis of Cleveland and Rick Case Honda in Euclid, Ohio, to growing Spitzer Management Inc., led by Chairman Alan Spitzer. Terms weren’t disclosed.

Rita Case said she and husband Rick talked over the decision to sell the Ohio dealerships, the group’s oldest locations and the farthest away from company headquarters, before his death from cancer in September. It was integral to find a like-minded buyer in the market, she said, and she reached out directly to Spitzer, who didn’t have a Honda or Hyundai store in his portfolio.

“It was really important to us that we found a buyer that was family-owned and -operated like we were to both take care of our customers, to take care of our associates and to do the right thing for the Honda and the Hyundai brand, which we are so loyal to,” Case, the group’s longtime COO prior to her husband’s death, told Automotive News.

Rick Case founded his dealership empire with a lone used-car store in Akron, Ohio, in 1962 and added a Toyota store in 1966 before moving the family to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in 1985. Rick Case Automotive will continue to operate 14 dealerships in Georgia and Florida.

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“The Atlanta, Ga., and the South Florida dealerships are not for sale, and my intentions are to run those dealerships as CEO and to continue to promote Rick’s legacy,” Rita Case said. Rick Case focused on building the group’s stores to become the No. 1 dealership for both volume and customer satisfaction in the country for the brands they represent, she added.

Case said she is looking to expand in the dealership group’s remaining markets. For example, Rick Case Automotive has four Genesis franchises and is awaiting approval from Genesis to separate two of the four from Hyundai dealerships into exclusive Genesis stores.

Spitzer, who made the acquisition announcement this week on LinkedIn, has renamed the stores, giving them the Spitzer name.

Spitzer said that the dealerships were attractive as they are located in the group’s primary market and will help with its economies of scale. Spitzer said he had known Rick Case for decades and the companies had initially discussed the acquisitions several years ago before having serious discussions late last year.

Spitzer Management, a fourth-generation business, has more than 15 dealerships in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida, according to its website. In August, the company acquired a Subaru store and a General Motors dealership in DuBois, Pa., and Spitzer said the company is looking for more opportunities.

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Rick Case Automotive ranks No. 35 on Automotive News‘ list of the top 150 dealership groups based in the U.S., with retail sales of 22,168 new vehicles in 2019.

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