Mountain View enters Cleveland market

Mountain View enters Cleveland market

Chattanooga auto dealer purchases Nissan store

October 25th, 2018 by Mike Pare in Breaking News

Updated at 10:49 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018, with more information.

Mountain View Auto Group has expanded into the Cleveland, Tennessee, market with the purchase of the Nissan dealership there.

Don Thomas, the group's managing partner, said the Chattanooga-based company on Wednesday finalized the acquisition of the dealership from Sonic Automotive. The store will be called Mountain View Nissan of Cleveland, he said.

"This is our first expansion into the Cleveland market," Thomas said. "We're really excited about that."

Two years ago, North Carolina-based Sonic opened the $9.8 million dealership at Interstate 75 and U.S. Highway 74 at Exit 20. Sonic also owns Nissan of Chattanooga East located on Highway 153.

For Mountain View, the new acquisition now gives it three Nissan dealerships in the area — one in Cleveland, Chattanooga and Dalton, Georgia.

Thomas said Mountain View has an economy of scale that gives it an advantage as the owner of the three stores.

"We can combine a lot of things," he said. "Instead of a person doing a job at each location, we can combine the administrative office. There are several things we can do that way. We'll not have triple expenses."

When Sonic Automotive opened the Nissan dealership in Cleveland in 2016, it was that group's 100th nationally.

The 25,000-square-foot store located across I-75 from a new 330-acre industrial park in Bradley County was cited for its technology and user-friendly layout.

Kevin Gaither, a regional vice president for the company, said at the time that there's so much access to automotive information for consumers these days that the dealership didn't want to waste shoppers' time when they came in.

"For us, it's about the guest experience," he said.

Thomas, who declined to disclose the dealership's purchase price, said the Nissan store is "a very nice facility."

Oftentimes, he said, when Mountain View makes an acquisition it follows up with construction of new facilities, such as it unveiled earlier this week in Ringgold, Georgia, where the company officially opened a new $10 million Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram dealership.

"It's nice not to have to do that," Thomas said.

He expects the Cleveland dealership to have 40-45 employees when fully staffed.

The dealership likely will sell around 150 vehicles monthly, Thomas said.

"That's very realistic and very doable," he said.

Mountain View Auto Group goes back to 1981 when C. Austin Watson bought a Ford dealership in Chattanooga. It later acquired the downtown Chattanooga Nissan store in 1988 and then in 1999 purchased a site on Chapman Road for the used car dealership known as Mtn View @ 153.

In 2006, the group bought the Lincoln franchise, and then in 2007 the Chevrolet dealership from Newton Chevrolet.The group bought the Pye Nissan inventory in Dalton in 2016. It remodeled the former Sale Auto Mall into a new Nissan dealership near Walnut Square Mall.

Along with the Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram dealership in Ringgold, it holds a Hyundai store there. Also, it owns Pandora's European Motorsports on Highway 58, which sells motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.


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