When the agreement to unload most of his Texas dealerships to Asbury Automotive Group first was forged, Ken Schnitzer planned to step back from auto retail.
Yet as the ink dries on a new deal, which closed last week, Schnitzer appears to be returning to his roots.
Avondale Group, a luxury retailer sculpted from the stores written out of the Asbury deal and one location purchased between the agreement’s first and second draftings, will expand upon the work Schnitzer put into motion 33 years ago. The group name comes from the cross street at Oak Lawn Avenue in Dallas where Schnitzer, now chairman of Avondale, founded Park Place in 1987 with one Mercedes-Benz store.
“The name is a great way to marry the past with the future,” Hesham Elgaghil, president of Avondale Group, told Automotive News. “We want to continue to be the leaders in personalized service.”
The new company sells Aston Martin, Bentley, Koenigsegg, McLaren, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Rolls-Royce and Sprinter.
The pandemic and financing arrangement issues led Asbury to terminate in March the $1 billion deal to acquire most of the Park Place dealerships. Under a revised deal struck in July, the nation’s seventh-largest new-vehicle retailer agreed to acquire eight stores. The deal excluded real estate agreements and several brands now part of Avondale.
Asbury has high hopes for the acquisition, now worth $735 million. The group expects an additional $1.7 billion in annual revenue from the Park Place locations.
The acquisition remains the largest in Asbury’s history and is one of the most expensive in the industry in a decade.