Auto, housing vets purchase Reno Mercedes dealership
When Mercedes executives asked Von Housen Motors, the Sacramento area-based ownership group of Mercedes-Benz of Reno, to divest its Reno operation in favor of a local ownership group, the strength of owning the Mercedes brand proved attractive to longtime auto industry veteran Mike Winkel and veteran housing developer Brett Coleman.
Winkel, general manager of Winkel Pontiac GMC, and Coleman, a former principal in Barker Coleman Communities, purchased the dealership for an undisclosed price. Winkel says the management team at Mercedes-Benz of Reno led by general manager Eric Lackshin will remain in place.
This isn’t the first joint venture for the two businessmen they also teamed up to buy Sport Haus in South Reno, which sells luxury used cars.
“Dealerships are selling at the lowest prices in some time for good reason it is a tough business, and some brands are coming up for sale that normally wouldn’t, like Mercedes,” says Coleman. “That is a very difficult brand to obtain; it is a very enviable brand, and it equates to quality in most people’s minds.”
Coleman says he will not be involved in the day-to-day operations of Mercedes-Benz of Reno, but rather that he will use his team-building experience that helped make Barker Coleman Communities a success to strengthen operations at the dealership.
Winkel says the Mercedes line helps Winkel Motors expand its product offerings. The dealership, founded in Reno in 1942 with the Pontiac and Studebaker lines, recently lost its Pontiac, Hummer and Saturn lines as General Motors eliminated those brands.
“Mercedes on its own was a tremendous opportunity, but it also helps us to diversify a little bit,” Winkel says. “We kind of had everything with GM up to this point. Mercedes has a great product the quality is tremendous and keeps getting better. And they have a really good team of people assembled here in Reno.”
Winkel Motors plans to remodel parts of the dealership beginning with exterior glasswork and adding customer-friendly amenities to the interior. Dennis Banks Construction is general contractor on the project, which is expected to begin in a few weeks and run through mid October.
Katrina Lotftin Winkel of BTI Mergers and Acquisitions represented Winkel and Coleman in the transaction.
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