SAVOY — Serra Automotive has acquired Twin City Honda-BMW in Savoy and changed the name to Honda of Champaign and BMW of Champaign.
"We're changing the names, (but) our dedication to maintaining Twin City's reputation of providing excellent customer service remains the same," said Joe Serra, president of Serra Automotive, in a release.
"Ninety-nine percent of the staff is transitioning with us," he added.
Serra Automotive, based in Grand Blanc, Mich., has 29 dealership locations in seven states.
Several of those dealerships are clustered in the Grand Blanc area, south of Flint, and elsewhere in Michigan, but others are located in Colorado, Indiana, New Jersey, Ohio and Tennessee.
The company ranks among the top 10 privately held automotive groups in the nation, according to the release.
Ben Quattrone has been named general manager of the dealerships at 100 Burwash Ave., Savoy, while David Cartwright has been appointed comptroller.
Quattrone was most recently dealer/operator of Pace Chevrolet-Buick-GMC outside Greensboro, N.C.
A native of Syracuse, N.Y., Quattrone spent nearly eight years in sales and marketing with General Motors' Chevrolet Motor Division before entering the retail automotive business. He owned a dealership in Greenville, S.C., for 10 years before selling that and buying an interest in the Greensboro, N.C., dealership.
Quattrone said Monday that he thinks there is a lot of "growth opportunity" in Champaign County. He said the community has a stable economy and he aims to be a volume dealer, stocking more vehicles, raising standards of customer satisfaction and perhaps extending hours.
The business has 33 employees, and Quattrone said there are no plans to relocate the dealership.
"We really like the property," he said.
Quattrone added that the Shirley family, former owners of Twin City Honda-BMW, were "fantastic folks to deal with." He described them as "thoughtful" and "concerned" when it came to determining to whom they would sell.
R. Kent Shirley and his father, Clifford Shirley, have been fixtures in the Champaign County automotive market for decades — first at Twin City Pontiac in Champaign and later with the Honda and BMW franchises.
The Pontiac and Honda franchises were located in the 1300 and 1400 blocks of South Neil Street in Champaign before moving to Savoy in 1988. The Pontiac franchise was acquired three years later by Worden-Martin.
An attempt to reach Kent Shirley for comment on the sale of Twin City Honda-BMW was not successful.
As the executive manager for Honda of Champaign and BMW of Champaign, Quattrone said he will have the opportunity to acquire a greater share of the business over time. He said this is his first partnership with Serra Automotive.
Cartwright, who is from the Champaign area, previously served as chief financial officer, director of fixed operations and comptroller for two Champaign auto dealerships.