Van Horn Automotive Group's purchase of David Hobbs Honda adds its first Honda store. - IMAGE: Van Horn Automotive

Van Horn Automotive Group's purchase of David Hobbs Honda adds its first Honda store.

IMAGE: Van Horn Automotive

Van Horn Automotive Group purchased David Hobbs Honda of Glendale, marking the first Honda dealership for the group and bringing its total number of dealership locations to 16 throughout Wisconsin and Iowa.

Van Horn Automotive has been growing, with six acquisitions in as many years, and a recent move to increase employee ownership stake from 30% to 77%.

“We are very excited to make this deal for a number of reasons,” said group President Jeff Niesen. “For starters, we’ve been looking to add Honda to our factory brand offering for several years. Honda is one of the most successful and reputable import brands in the U.S. Secondly, we’ve been looking for an opportunity to enter the Milwaukee market and expand our customer base. We’ve been selling vehicles to the Milwaukee area for a number of years but haven’t had a dealership point to service those vehicles.”

Van Horn Automotive intends to make immediate changes to grow the capacity of the Honda dealership.

“We intend to increase our preowned vehicle selection to over 200 units, to provide more options for the Glendale and Greater Metro Milwaukee area,” said COO Adam Gaedke. “As new Honda vehicles become more readily available from the factory, we intend to ramp up our new car inventory accordingly. Furthermore, as the only employee-owned auto group in the state of Wisconsin, we look forward to providing more job opportunities for the community.”

Part of the buy-sell agreement requires Van Horn to build a new state-of-the-art Honda facility within the next three years.

Former owner David Hobbs is a racing legend and hall of fame inductee who spent a lot of time racing in Wisconsin throughout the 1960s. He fell in love with the area, and planted roots for a car dealership because of his passion for driving Honda vehicles. Most recently, the operations of the dealership were run by his son, Gregory.

“Greg has been a wonderful partner in this process,” Niesen said. “Doing business with the Hobbs family was attractive, because we share similar values. We’re well aware of the rich history and community connection the Hobbs family has with the Glendale and greater Milwaukee area. Our first priority is to maintain those connections, and demonstrate that we can provide customers with the level of service they deserve.”

Greg Hobbs, managing director of David Hobbs Honda, said, “Closing the doors of David Hobbs Honda after 35 years of dedication to our employees and community is extremely difficult for the Hobbs family. However, knowing the Van Horn family, their dedication to the employees and the community, makes it a lot easier and so the Hobbs family is proud to hand over the keys.”

Van Horn Automotive says it suppors the communities around all its locations. In celebration of the new store opening, it will donate $100 to Horizon Home Care & Hospice Meals on Wheels program for every vehicle sold from Van Horn Honda of Glendale from March 8 through April 8.

“We learned that the Hobbs Honda team had a strong connection with Horizon Home Care & Hospice,” said Ryan Thiel, marketing director of Van Horn Automotive. “We currently support Fresh Meals on Wheels of Sheboygan County, so this was an easy decision to continue support in the Milwaukee area. It’s another example of how the values of Hobbs and Van Horn align.”

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