After selling Ford products exclusively since joining the automotive retail business in 2009, Toronto-area dealer Sean Riley has now added Fiat Chrysler to his group of dealerships.
Riley, 34, a majority owner of Markville Ford in Markham, Uxbridge Ford and Donway Ford, has taken over the Chrysler Don Mills store formerly owned by Go Auto. The deal for the Don Mills store closed on July 15 and it will be re-named Don Mills Chrysler. Go Auto, which is based in Edmonton, sold a second FCA store, Mississauga Chrysler, to the Windsor-Ont.-based Rafih Auto Group on June 30 and it opened the next day as My Mississauga Chrysler.
“I have always been interested in acquiring another brand,” Riley told Automotive News Canada. “FCA offers an attractive lineup and is a brand with a promising future. I’m particularly excited about their Jeep product and the consumer loyalty the brand has built.”
Riley said the proximity to the other two Ford stores he owns factored into the purchase.
“This close proximity allows me to be active in the day-to-day operations. The ability to be available, whether that is for customers or employees, is a key contributor towards organizational success.”
Riley said he didn’t consider it a risk to buy a dealership during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am extremely confident that with a few key personnel additions and the implementation of our proven processes, we can perform at the highest level,” he said.
Riley, who has an honours degree in business administration and is currently pursuing his Masters, addressed comments made by Go Auto owner Jared Priestner about the two Chrysler stores. He told Automotive News Canada in June that both Chrysler stores were in “dire straits” when the company purchased them, and despite doubling the sales volume in each they needed to be quadrupled. Priestner also said Go Auto “swung and missed” on both locations and that they were the two “worst operations” in the company, which has more than 40 dealerships. Go Auto bought the Don Mills store in March, 2018, nine months after purchasing the Mississauga store.
“The previous owner of Don Mills was a large dealer group that was from Alberta and the Ontario market is quite different,” Riley said. “I’m not sure if the same philosophy or processes are always transferable to the GTA market.”