AutoNation, the largest automotive retailer in the United States, reportedly is negotiating to buy Waco-based Allen Samuels Auto Group and the dealerships it owns around the state, including Allen Samuels Chevrolet at 1625 N. Valley Mills Drive.
Allen Samuels Auto Group is owned by three former longtime employees of car dealer Allen Samuels, who became a familiar sight on television commercials that featured him walking near Waco landmarks with his suit coat draped over his shoulder.
“Waco’s got a lot to offer,” he would say. “So do we at Allen Samuels. Come by. Let’s be friends.”
The projected buyout by Florida- based AutoNation does not involve the Allen Samuels Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram dealership on West Loop 340 in Waco’s “Motor Mile” or the Allen Samuels Fiat and Alfa Romeo dealership to be built at Bagby Avenue and West Loop 340.
Allen Samuels himself, not the auto group, owns both of those stores, said Ted Teague, general manager of the Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram location. Teague confirmed the buyout of the Auto Group by AutoNation.
“It is my understanding it has been announced to employees of the dealerships involved,” Teague said by phone. He said representatives of Allen Samuels Auto Group and AutoNation are visiting the dealerships as part of AutoNation’s due diligence as it prepares to formally close on the purchase, possibly by January.
Allen Samuels Auto Group owns dealerships in Houston, Katy, Fort Worth, Tyler and Corpus Christi bearing the Dodge Chrysler Jeep, Hyundai or Chevrolet brands. These have appeared on AutoNation’s radar for acquisition.
Besides two properties in Waco, Allen Samuels will retain dealerships in Aransas Pass and in Oxford, Mississippi.
“He acquired the Mississippi dealership last year, the first outside of Texas,” Teague said.
AutoNation owns and operates more than 310 franchises throughout the United States. It employs more than 25,000 people, sells 35 different manufacturer brands and is ranked No. 156 in the 2015 Fortune 500.
In January 2013, Auto- Nation announced it would completely replace localized brand names of its car retail operations with its own name. This re-branding across the United States was supported and approved by the major automotive manufacturers, including General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota, Honda, Volkswagen and Hyundai, according to industry reports.
AutoNation owns and operates more than 20 dealerships in Texas, with business concentrated in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, Houston and its suburbs, Austin and Corpus Christi, the company website indicates.
Jeff Wooley, president and CEO of Allen Samuels Auto Group, referred comment on the pending sale to AutoNation.
A spokesman for Auto-Nation declined to comment on the deal before early this week.