Ed Morse Automotive Group Expands with Acquisition of Three Dealerships in Illinois
Ed Morse Automotive Group, one of the largest dealership groups in the country, has continued its expansion in the Midwest by acquiring three Illinois stores in two transactions in May. This move further strengthens the group’s domestic brand store offerings.
Ed Morse Automotive purchased Crowe Ford in Geneseo, IL, and Crowe Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram in Kewanee, IL on May 10 from George Koustas. The two dealerships were renamed Ed Morse Ford and Ed Morse Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram, respectively, and Koustas stayed on as the general manager. Less than two weeks later, the group bought Motor City Chevrolet-GMC, also located in Kewanee, from Eric Ellenberger. The dealership previously had a Buick franchise, but Morse stated that Ellenberger had gotten rid of the brand before the transaction, and the store was renamed Ed Morse Chevrolet-GMC.
Location and Strategy
The dealerships in Geneseo and Kewanee are located in northwest Illinois, near the Iowa border. This proximity was a draw for Ed Morse Automotive, as it ties into the group’s stores in Muscatine and DeWitt, which it bought in March 2022. These new dealerships are about 30 minutes to an hour east of Davenport, Iowa, where the group already had a small footprint. Since acquiring four stores in two deals in Missouri in May 2021, the group has expanded by purchasing eight stores across Missouri, Iowa, and Illinois. Morse stated that all the dealerships bought in these states have been domestic brands, as these are typically where customers seek out trucks, which covers the vast majority of the market in these farming and agriculture dominated areas.
Expansion and Opportunity
The rapid acquisition of dealerships in the Midwest was not planned, according to Morse. However, the opportunities kept presenting themselves, and the group took advantage accordingly. Scott Mackie, Senior Vice President of the Midwest Region for National Business Brokers, handled the Crowe dealerships transaction. Mark Shackelford and Paul Kechnie, Partners, representing Midwest and Texas regions for Performance Brokerage Services, facilitated the May 22 transaction. As of 2022, Ed Morse Automotive ranks No. 52 on Automotive News’ list of the top 150 dealership groups based in the U.S., and it retailed 14,832 new vehicles in the same year.