Updated: March 3, 2014 at 6:10 pm
One of Colorado Springs' oldest and most recognizable auto dealership groups has changed hands - but won't change its familiar name.
The Red Noland Auto Group, which N.B. "Red" Noland founded in 1974, has been purchased by Mike Jorgensen and Thom Buckley, the auto group's top executives who have been operating Noland's dealerships for 15 years.
The purchase includes Red Noland Cadillac, Red Noland Infiniti, Jaguar-Land Rover Colorado Springs, Red Noland Pre-Owned Center and Red Noland Collision Center.
Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but it also includes the auto group's roughly 15 acres in the Motor City auto park, along Motor City Drive, on Colorado Springs' west side.
Noland, Jorgensen and Buckley completed the deal at the end of last month, which marked exactly 40 years since Noland came to Colorado Springs and, along with a Dallas partner, bought what was then called Silver State Cadillac. At the time, Noland had been with the Cadillac division of General Motors for 25 years, worked as a Cadillac zone manager in Dallas and become familiar with Colorado after spending time in the state skiing and flying gliders
In 1979, Noland bought out his partner and purchased the land underneath that they had been leasing. A decade ago, he brought back Jaguar to the Springs after a 24-year absence when Red Noland Auto Group opened a Jaguar and Land Rover building above Motor City. Last year, the auto group completed a new Infiniti building, which includes a new showroom and service reception area.
Jorgensen has been with Noland almost 22 years; Buckley started in 1984. They've been partners with Noland since 1999, when he gave them stock in the company, an option to buy more and essentially established a plan of ownership succession, Jorgensen said.
In 2006, Jorgensen and Buckley became dealer operators, a move that required approval by General Motors and the auto group's other manufacturers. In the last year, the three have been finalizing a deal for Jorgensen and Buckley to complete their purchase; they're now 50-50 owners of the auto group.
"Red had indicated that he wanted to get this done, so that he could help us put this together while he was living, and then ensure the dealerships would have continuity and really continue his legacy," Jorgensen said. "He wouldn't say that, but that's what we're thinking."
The Red Noland dealership names will remain unchanged, which is significant because they represent a brand that's been identifiable with the local luxury car market for 40 years, Jorgensen and Buckley said. Buckley called the transition to their ownership "a huge responsibility to maintain the quality image and the Red Noland name through the next generations."
No changes are planned at the auto group, which will retain its 110 employees, Jorgensen and Buckley said.
The auto group's sales last year were at their highest levels since 2007, although the dealerships still are aiming to get back to pre-recession levels, they said.
"It was very intentional that Red sell the entire enterprise, real estate and all, in order for it to grow in the future," Buckley said. "I honestly believe he could have picked up the phone and made a call or two and sold it quicker, for perhaps more money, to someone else who would have not carried on the Red Noland legacy. So I honestly believe that he continues to invest in it beyond owning it in his transaction to us."
Noland, 87, was returning to the Springs from Vail on Monday and couldn't be reached for comment.
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