Lithia said it sold Bentley of Denver-Lotus of Denver, previously housed in its Ferrari of Denver dealership in Highlands Ranch, Colo., to John Elway Dealerships on June 8.
Lithia acquired the exotic and ultraluxury dealership in December. Lithia plans to complete a full remodel of the Ferrari store consistent with the automaker’s new image program, which is to be unveiled later this year, Dobry said in an email.
John Elway Dealerships — named for the former NFL star and longtime Denver Broncos quarterback who owns several dealerships with partners — moved the Bentley and Lotus brands to a building that was a used-vehicle store in nearby Lone Tree, Colo., according to Todd Maul , the group’s managing partner. The dealership is next to its Cadillac store.
While John Elway Dealerships already had luxury dealerships from BMW and Porsche, in addition to Cadillac, the renamed Bentley Denver-Lotus Denver was the group’s entry into the ultraluxury segment, Maul said.
“The way we see it, it complements our Cadillac brand in a way that is fairly rare to have,” Maul told Automotive News. “Because it’s not like people are coming in trying to decide between an XT5 and a Bentayga. And even for that matter, the Escalade is just a very different vehicle than the Bentayga.”
Maul said the building had recently been refreshed but would be brought up to Bentley’s corporate look. The group is planning how it wants to house Lotus and anticipates receiving its first vehicle in the fall.
The deal marked John Elway Dealerships’ first franchised dealership acquisition since he bought a BMW dealership and a Mini store in 2020, Maul said. The group has been an active buyer of powersports dealerships in recent years.
John Elway Dealerships sold a Stellantis dealership and a majority stake in a Toyota store, both near Los Angeles, last year.
Elway got into dealership ownership years ago and sold stores in 1997 to Republic Industries Inc., which became AutoNation Inc.
Maul, a past chairman of the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association, worked for the Chesrown Group in the 1990s. He was with Chesrown when it sold to Republic in 1997. Maul stayed on with AutoNation and was the auto retailer’s west region president until 2008.
Soon after he left AutoNation, Maul became partners with Elway and Mitch Pierce, another partner at John Elway Dealerships, at a Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram store in Greeley, Colo., and expanded from there.
John Elway Dealerships ranks No. 123 on Automotive News‘ list of the top 150 dealership groups, retailing 6,517 new vehicles in 2022. Lithia, of Medford, Ore., ranks No. 1 on that same list, retailing 271,596 new vehicles in 2022. Lithia’s sales figures include dealerships outside the US
Pinnacle Mergers & Acquisitions, a Frisco, Texas, buy-sell firm, represented Lithia in the Bentley-Lotus transaction. The sale of the Bentley-Lotus store was Lithia’s first US divestiture since it sold an Alabama Subaru dealership in March, Dobry confirmed.