In a BE 100s deal, BMW/MINI of Sterling, Virginia (No. 20 on the be auto dealer 100 list with $122.3 million in sales) acquired Hank Aaron Toyota in McDonough, Georgia, for $18 million. As previously reported by Black Enterprise, Hank L. Aaron Sr., the Hall of Fame baseball player and longtime entrepreneur, had announced his intention to sell his automotive dealerships at the beginning of 2007.
The store will be renamed Toyota of McDonough. “Toyota, Honda, Mercedes, Lexus, BMW-those are all brands you want to have in your portfolio,” boasts Thomas A. Moorehead, CEO of BMW/MINI of Sterling. “[Aaron] called me one day and said ‘I am seriously considering retiring,’” Moorehead said. “Then we talked about the Toyota purchase. Knowing Hank Aaron for as long as I have, I didn’t hesitate to strike a deal.” BMW/MINI of Sterling was be’s 2007 Auto Dealer of the Year (See “Million-Dollar Service,” June 2007).
Moorehead said he was looking to expand his automotive business with the best of the best. “And Toyota is one of the best franchises to have,” he said. “It’s so rare that [Toyota dealerships] come up. This was the right brand at the right location.”
“This was an opportunity to give Tom a [chance] to be more successful,” added 73-year-old Aaron. “It wasn’t about the money.”
Auto industry consultant Erich Merkle, vice president of Forecasting for IRN Inc., agrees, saying, “Toyota is a good brand. He wouldn’t be going against the market grain with this purchase. With import brands or the new domestic brands like Toyota, owner sales continue to flourish.”
The McDonough location offers 1,500 to 2,000 units of new and used vehicles, with sales of $136,748 million in 2006. Moorehead will remain in Virginia, instead bringing in a longtime friend, Greg Williams, as part-owner and general manager of the new Georgia site. The McDonough dealership currently has 78 staffers, the majority of which will stay, Moorehead said.
Hank Aaron BMW in Union City, Georgia, and MINI, Hyundai, and Honda dealerships throughout the state were previously sold. Prior to the sales, Aaron’s auto group ranked No. 15 on the 2006 be auto dealer 100 list with $136.7 million in sales and earned him the honor of be’s 2004 Auto Dealer of the Year.