Houston Private co. Buys Ford Dealership From Sonic Automotive

Ford Truck

Doggett Auto Group, an affiliate of Leslie Doggett Industries, has acquired Lone Star Ford in north Houston from North Carolina-based Sonic Automotive Inc.. Pictured above is the 2018 model of Ford Motor Co.'s F-150 pickup.


Houston-based Leslie Doggett Industries has acquired one of Houston’s oldest and largest Ford dealerships and plans to relocate the store.

Doggett Auto Group, a recently established affiliate of Doggett Industries, has acquired Lone Star Ford in north Houston at 8477 North Freeway from Charlotte, North Carolina-based Sonic Automotive Inc. (NYSE: SAH), according to a press release. The deal closed on May 1 but terms were not disclosed.

Sonic, an automotive retailer with over 100 dealerships in 13 states, has owned Lone Star Ford since 1997, Leslie Doggett, CEO and president of Doggett Industries, told the Houston Business Journal.

Lone Star Ford has been located at the nearly 23-acre property at 8477 North Freeway since at least 1988, according to the Harris County Appraisal District. But it won't stay there much longer.

On July 31, Doggett Auto Group will relocate the dealership to 9115 North Freeway, an 8-acre lot adjacent to Doggett Industries' John Deere Construction and Forestry headquarters, per the release. The property is currently a used equipment lot for the company's John Deere construction equipment business, Doggett said.

For the deal, Doggett's in-house general counsel William Doggett and CFO Brian McLemore as well as Oklahoma-city based Calvert Law Firm's Monica Hoenshell represented the Houston-based truck and equipment dealer. Sonic represented itself.

“Ford Motor Co. and Doggett Ford are eager to return this store to its former status as one of the United States’ largest volume Ford stores,” William Doggett said in the release. “We are committed to achieving a customer satisfaction rating among the highest in any major metropolitan market. We are also very proud to represent Ford and to have the opportunity to take over one of Houston’s oldest and best-known dealerships.”

Doggett Auto Group, which was established for the acquisition, is led by Tony Gracely, who emerged from retirement and has been working for the company about six months, Leslie Doggett said.

In 1988, Gracely sold Champion Ford, Texan Ford and Texan Lincoln Mercury to Florida-based AutoNation Inc. (NYSE: AN), Leslie Doggett said. After the sale, Gracely oversaw 22 AutoNation dealerships in Texas. Although he has been retired from the day-to-day dealership business for 15 years, Gracely has been very active in associated investment activities, Leslie Doggett said.

Family-owned Doggett Industries has over $1 billion in sales and over 1,300 full-time employees, per the release. The company has 33 full-service heavy equipment dealerships including 17 John Deere Construction and Forestry Equipment dealerships, seven Toyota Industrial Equipment dealerships, four Freightliner on-highway and vocational trucks dealerships, and four Link Belt Crane dealerships.

Over the years, Doggett Industries has acquired several businesses. In 2014, the company purchased four south Texas dealerships for $30 million. In 2010, it acquired John Deere dealerships from Rush Enterprises Inc. for $26.2 million. And in 2007, it acquired the Louisiana and East Texas divisions of Nortrax South from John Deere & Co. for $103 million.

Last year, Sonic Automotive bought Stahlman Lumber Co.'s 2.4-acre site between Greenbriar and Shepherd Drive to build a dealership on the property. Across the street, Sonic Automotive has a seven-story, 170,000-square-foot Audi dealership that was completed in 2013. At the time, the $20 million facility, at 2120 Southwest Freeway, was the largest flagship Audi dealership in the U.S.

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