Westgate car dealership to be sold to Hoosier dealer group

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The Plainfield car dealership Westgate Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram, 2695 E. Main St., will change hands next month but will remain under Hoosier ownership.

York Automotive, which owns and operates four dealerships in west central Indiana, will buy Westgate in a deal that’s expected to close in early August. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Once the deal closes, Westgate’s name will change to York Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Plainfield.

York Automotive is owned by Nick York and other members of his family. Their dealerships include York Chevrolet Buick and York Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, both in Brazil; York Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Fiat in Crawfordsville; and York Chevrolet Buick GMC in Greencastle.

“It is not a large conglomerate coming in to buy, and that was intentional,” said Kate Shepherd of Kate Shepherd Communications, speaking on behalf of Westgate owner Teri Catterson Kraft. “She really wanted someone that was in Indiana, locally based and could have that same flavor.”

Nick York did not immediately return a phone message left by IBJ Wednesday afternoon.

The deal with York does not include Eastgate Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram, which Kraft owns with her sister, Kathleen Stegmann, at 500 N. Shadeland Ave. on the east side of Indianapolis. The sisters inherited Eastgate from their father, Tom Catterson, following his death in 1999.

In a prepared statement Kraft said she is selling Westgate so that she can put her sole business focus on Eastgate and spend more time with her daughter. The decision to sell, Kraft said, “was an incredibly difficult decision to make.”

Kraft has owned Westgate since 2001, when she purchased the dealership then known as Carson Chrysler Plymouth Dodge Jeep from Budget Group Inc. The rental car company had purchased the Plainfield dealership from the Carson family in 1998 as part of a short-lived strategy to diversify into new-car sales.

In moving from one family-owned owner to another, Westgate is bucking a trend that has seen numerous other local dealerships acquired by much larger automotive retailers over the past few years.

In October 2017, Indianapolis-based Butler Auto Group sold its Hyundai, Fiat, Maserati and Alfa Romeo dealerships in Indianapolis and its Kia dealerships in Fishers and Carmel to Chicago-based Ed Napleton Automotive Group. Napleton operates 46 dealerships in seven states.

Butler sold its last remaining dealership, Butler Toyota, to Duluth, Georgia-based Asbury Automotive Group Inc. in July 2019. It was the most recent local acquisition for Asbury, which entered the Indianapolis market in January 2017 when it acquired Hare Chevrolet in Noblesville for $80 million. Asbury went on to acquire Terry Lee Honda in Avon for $46.5 million in early 2018. Asbury acquired Bill Estes Auto Group and its four Indianapolis-area dealerships in early 2019 for $121 million.

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