Brandon Steven buying west-side Chrysler Jeep Dodge

03/27/2014 12:00 AM

03/26/2014 6:34 PM

Brandon Steven is adding west-side Steven Chrysler Jeep Dodge to his growing collection of area auto dealerships.

He is purchasing the dealership from Mike Steven, his cousin, and they closed on the deal Friday, Brandon Steven said in an interview Wednesday at the Chrysler store at 11028 W. Kellogg.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Brandon Steven said he plans to change the name to Eddy’s Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, signs of which should be up in the next 30 days.

Next week, he said work should begin on a project to renovate the interior of the dealership’s sales building and part of its service area, add new furniture, and expand its paved lot west of Maize road and just north of Kellogg to nine acres.

“I’ve wanted a Chrysler dealership for about two years now,” Steven said. He said Chrysler’s Imported from Detroit campaign is “what really got me excited” about the brand and acquiring a dealership.

The purchase will mark the fifth dealership that Steven either owns or is a partner in – Eddy’s Toyota, Ford of Augusta, Super Car Guys and Subaru of Wichita. Four of Brandon Steven’s five dealerships were previously owned by Mike Steven Auto Group, which also owns Steven Mitsubishi, Steven Infiniti and Steven Volkswagen.

Officials from Mike Steven Auto Group did not respond Wednesday afternoon to requests for comments on the acquisition.

Brandon Steven said he expects to spend about $1.5 million on building renovations and repaving and expanding the parking lot.

The dealership has nearly 30 employees now. By the end of the year, Steven said he plans to have 90 employees. The new positions will be added in sales, service and parts, he said.

“We’re going to triple the business, employees and lot space this year,” he said.

John Culver, owner of Parks Motors in Augusta, which is also a Chrysler Jeep Dodge and Ram dealer, said he knew of Brandon Steven’s acquisition and that it would be helpful, and not harmful, to his sales.

“Mike (Steven) did a good job,” Culver said. “I think Mike saw an opportunity for a young guy like Brandon … to take that store to the next level.”

Culver said he thinks Brandon Steven will grow sales at the west-side Chrysler store, but that sales growth won’t be at the expense of sales of his Chrysler products. It will increase awareness of the Chrysler brand, Culver said, and eventually the market share of Chrysler and its brands in the Wichita area.

“I don’t think this hurts me,” Culver said. “This is a good, positive move for everybody: For us, Brandon, Davis-Moore (Wichita’s east-side Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep dealer), the consumer.”

Dawson Grimsley, Davis-Moore Auto Group president, said he agreed with Culver’s assessment.

“He’ll (Brandon Steven) be good for everybody,” Grimsley said.

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