Group 1 sells Hyundai dealership; Ken Garff Automotive buys Subaru store

Ken Garff Automotive adds Subaru dealership, oldest in the nation

Expanding Ken Garff Automotive Group, a privately owned retailer in Salt Lake City, bolstered its Utah presence with the acquisition this month of a Subaru dealership, a new brand for the group.

Ken Garff Automotive on June 21 bought Nate Wade Subaru in Salt Lake City from longtime owner Kirk Schneider. The dealership is keeping the Nate Wade name, noting that it is a Ken Garff retailer.

Schneider, who had just the one store, is staying on as Ken Garff vice president of partner relations, the company said in a blog post. He will continue to serve on the boards of the New Car Dealers of Utah and the Utah Motor Vehicle Franchise Advisory Board, among others. Schneider also represents Utah on the board of directors of the National Automobile Dealers Association.

“There’s no one we’d rather join than Ken Garff,” Schneider said in a statement, adding his values match that of Ken Garff Automotive.

Schneider, who is also a past chairman of the Subaru National Dealer Advisory Board, had owned the dealership since 1995, when he bought it from his father-in-law, Nate Wade. The dealership opened in 1969 and is the oldest Subaru retailer in Subaru of America’s network, the company confirmed to Automotive News. Subaru of America was incorporated in 1968.

“We are honored to welcome Nate Wade Subaru into the Ken Garff family,” John Garff, CEO of Ken Garff Enterprises, parent company of Ken Garff Automotive, said in a statement. “Kirk Schneider’s vision has made Nate Wade Subaru an outstanding retailer that is well respected in the community and aligns perfectly with our brand and commitment to Utah.”

The acquisition follows Ken Garff Automotive’s entrance into Colorado and Wyoming when it bought five dealerships in September.

Ken Garff Automotive ranks No. 9 on Automotive News’ list of the top 150 dealership groups based in the U.S., retailing 58,787 new vehicles in 2021.

Joe Ozog of Ozog Consulting Group in Scottsdale, Ariz., represented Schneider in the transaction.

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