Carrie Rengers

Paul Walser on his dealerships: 'I wouldn't sell a single piece off'

Paul Walser says he and his brother Andrew are not attempting to sell their Wichita Walser Automotive Group.
Paul Walser says he and his brother Andrew are not attempting to sell their Wichita Walser Automotive Group. The Wichita Eagle/File photo

Construction has wrapped, and Walser Automotive Group is preparing to celebrate a grand opening of its final new building — the Porsche dealership — on its campus near 13th and Greenwich.

Still, though, the rumors persist that the Minnesota-based Walser brothers, Paul and Andrew, took on too much when they acquired the former Luxury Collection and its brands — Acura, Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Mini, Porsche and Mercedes-Benz — and that they're looking to sell.

"It is absolutely not for sale," Paul Walser says. "I wouldn't sell this no matter what anybody paid me right now.

"We've had our struggles there, and that's fair," he says.

"We started deep in the hole. ... The opening six months there were very difficult."

The next six were "very disappointing."

Walser says it's been a pretty steady trajectory upward ever since.

"May is on track to be by far the best month ever," he says. "This thing is going very, very well."

Some months, one or two of the dealerships are in the red, but not by much, Walser says.

"That leaves five to six that are profitable," he says. "The ones that are losing are losing small. ... The top ones that are winning are winning big."

Walser says each of the dealerships feeds off the others. For instance, someone may come in — from the Wichita area or from somewhere around the country — for a Porsche but then find they like a Mercedes better.

"The whole thing works together in a special way," he says.

"What we have is a destination campus," Walser says. "I don't want to part with anything because it's going to damage our ability to have a destination location for luxury products."

He won't discuss numbers, but Walser says he is sincere about not selling.

"These are great franchises. I wouldn't sell a single piece off, much less the whole thing," he says. "I'm not just a car salesman trying to sell a reporter."

Reach Carrie Rengers at 316-268-6340 or crengers@wichitaeagle.com.
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