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Veteran Auto Retail Executive and Kia Manager Join Forces to Buy Texas Dealerships
Chuck Kramer, former COO of Foundation Automotive Corp., partnered with Kimberly Eakin, general manager of Dennis Eakin Kia in Killeen, Texas, to purchase their first stores: three franchised dealerships and a used-car lot in rural Texas.
The Dealerships and Their Location
Premier Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram and Premier Chevrolet-Buick-GMC in Livingston and a used-car store in Porter were purchased by Kramer Automotive on February 27, along with Premier Kia in Lufkin, which was bought by Kimberly Eakin Automotive. All three locations are north of Houston.
Ownership and Buyout Status
Livingston dealerships are majority owned by Kramer, with Eakin owning nearly a third. Minor partner Jason Haden owns five percent of those stores, while an unnamed partner owns two percent. Eakin owns the majority of the Kia dealership, with Kramer owning just over a third. Haden owns five percent of the Kia store, and an unnamed partner owns two percent.
The partners accepted a buyout from General Motors for the Buick franchise one week after the transaction closed. Buick is offering buyouts to U.S. dealers who don’t want to make investments during the brand’s transition to electric vehicles.
Renovation and Plans for Expansion
The Kramer Autoplex (formerly Premier Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram and Premier Chevrolet-Buick-GMC in Livingston) and its diesel repair shop will receive a $1 million renovation. The Kia store was recently renovated. Twenty additional staffers were hired for the partners’ stores within the first two months of ownership, and they plan to hire 10-15 more employees this summer. They are also launching a profit-sharing plan for employees.
After the sale of its Texas stores, Elm Creek Auto still owns a Volvo dealership in Overland Park, Kan. Additionally, they will focus primarily on their thriving business selling dirt bikes and jet skis, according to Brian Evans, principal of Ozog Consulting Group, which brokered the deal for the seller.
The partners may acquire additional stores beyond Premier Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram and Premier Chevrolet-Buick-GMC in Livingston and Premier Kia in Lufkin. “Kimberly is in talks on a couple of opportunities in Texas,” says Kramer. “We would like to add two or three more Kimberly Eakin stores for sure.”