Martine Purdy holds a falafel and hummus plate Tuesday, May 4, 2010. at Venue 515 in Manitou Springs. In the background is the painting "Sodom and Gomorrah by artist Bill Hyer. Photo by Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette

Phil Long Dealerships has agreed to acquire Daniels Chevrolet, the oldest auto dealership in Colorado Springs and one of the oldest in the state, in a deal that will keep owner Elizabeth Daniels as a partner in the business, the CEO of Phil Long said Tuesday.

Terms were not disclosed. The sale was negotiated over a two- to three-week period and will be completed once the transaction is approved by General Motors, which is expected by July 1, said Jay Cimino, Phil Long CEO. The Motor City area dealership will be renamed Daniels-Long Chevrolet when the deal is completed, and all 60 employees will be retained working under a general manager that will come from within the Phil Long organization, he said.

“This is a win-win for everybody,” Cimino said. “We will merge our culture with theirs so that when someone buys a new Chevrolet from that dealership the customer experience will be same as it is with Phil Long Ford. Our basic philosophy is the same — put the customer first. ”

Elizabeth Daniels said the Long organization initially contacted her to gauge whether she had any interest in selling. She believes a partnership offers the dealership “an opportunity for strength and health” amid a difficult economy and the threatened loss of its Chevrolet franchise. “It is really positive and exciting. I believe there is power in partnering. We have two strong names to bring Chevrolet into the future.”

Daniels Chevrolet faced losing its Chevrolet franchise for much of the past year; it was one of 1,340 dealers notified by GM last yearthat  their franchises would not be renewed this fall. Elizabeth Daniels appealed that decision and GM offered in March to reinstate the franchise, which is expected to happen next week. The dealership spent $5.5 million in 1999 to build a new lot at 670 Automotive Drive to replace its longtime downtown location.

Phil Long is the biggest dealer in the Springs and one of the largest in the state, with seven franchises at 14 dealerships between Denver and Raton, N.M. Most of the company’s dealerships are structured as partnerships in which it holds a majority stake. The purchase will give the company one of the city’s three Chevrolet dealerships along with its existing Audi, Ford, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes, Saturn and Suzuki dealerships.

Even with the purchase, Cimino said there will still be “plenty of competition in the automotive industry in Colorado Springs. There are still two other Chevrolet dealers in Colorado Springs, so this will not reduce the amount of competition in the market.”

Tim Jackson, president of the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association in Denver, said the sale “is a good deal for both parties. It gives (Elizabeth) Daniels an opportunity to be part of a larger organization and still retain some ownership of her dealership.”—Contact the writer at 636-0234.