Former Shelby Motors will grow, says new owner
CHAMPAIGN — Dave Taylor, who has agreed to buy Shelby Motors in Champaign, says he aims to build the dealership's sales volume to the level his Bourbonnais store sees.
Visiting Champaign on Wednesday, Taylor said his Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram store in Bourbonnais sells 150 cars a month.
To achieve that at the newly named Champaign Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram, he intends to offer more new cars and "a lot more" used cars, he said.
Plus, he's planning to redo the lighting and open up the showroom by moving some offices.
Taylor, 53, of Frankfort said he has been in the automotive business for more than 30 years. During his senior year at Olivet Nazarene, he began washing cars at the Buick dealership in Kankakee and later became salesman, finance manager and general sales manager there.
In 1985, he moved to River Oaks Chrysler in Lansing as finance manager and sales manager. Six years later, he became a partner in Michigan City (Ind.) Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep.
Taylor bought the Chrysler-Dodge store in Kankakee in 1993, moved the dealership to Bourbonnais in 2007 and picked up the Jeep franchise in 2009. Wanting to expand, he looked at several smaller dealerships before approaching Jennifer Shelby about a possible sale.
Taylor said his Bourbonnais dealership employs about 50, while the Champaign dealership employs about 37.
"We're going to grow," he said of the local operations. "We'll keep everyone we've got" and add a couple sales people, he said.
Shelby said last week that only she and General Manager Walt Hoult will be leaving.
Dale Hendershot of Paxton, who will be the new general manager, worked for Taylor for about four years and most recently worked for Shields Auto Group.
Taylor said he expects to be at the Champaign dealership "a lot at first" and then come "two or three days a week."
Originally from Flint, Mich., Taylor had family ties in the automotive industry. His dad was an engineer for ACDelco, and his grandfather was an engineer for Ford Motor Co.
Taylor said he initially bought the Chrysler-Dodge dealership in Kankakee with partner Brian Brown. They then bought the Chevrolet dealership in that community.
Later, Taylor bought Brown's interest in the Chrysler-Dodge dealership, and Brown bought Taylor's interest in the Chevy dealership.