Tampa-based Morgan Automotive Group enters Orlando market with Chrysler dealership purchase

An affiliate of Tampa-based Morgan Automotive Group has purchased the Central Florida Chrysler Jeep Dodge auto dealership, located on 10.55 acres off John Young Parkway just south of Sand Lake Road in Orlando, for a recorded $24.6 million.

The sale involves the business’ 130,982-square-foot showroom and service center at 8675 Commodity Circle, and 4 acres of parking on the opposite side of Commodity Circle, giving the buyer its first avenue in Orlando.

“We see the sales numbers, and most all of the car stores up there do very well, but of course that also means serious competition,” said Morgan Automotive Chairman Larry Morgan, who added that his company founded in 2005 has added 20 of its 33 dealerships during the last two years. “But we’re not afraid of competition. We all know it’s a growing market, the average income and the cost of living are reasonable, and it’s close to our main base if you will with our head office in Tampa, so it’s easy to get to and easy to manage.”

Founded in 2005, Morgan Automotive’s other locations are mostly in the Tampa Bay, southwest Florida and Gainesville-Lake City markets. With the purchase that closed Tuesday, Central Florida Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram becomes Morgan’s first auto venture in Metro Orlando since he owned Tires Plus locations here.

“There’s a lot of saber-rattling out there in the industry, a lot of soothsayers saying the industry is going to change significantly in the years to come,” Morgan said. “I agree it’s probably going to change, but I probably disagree that it will change as fast as some people say it might. And one reason we’re a growing company, we have revenue in excess of $2 billion now, whatever change does come about when it does happen we’ll be able to deal with – we have a large enough base, large enough infrastructure in place, that we’ll have the capability of changing with the market, which will be a little more difficult for the smaller family [dealers].”

The seller is an affiliate of Automotive Management Services, Inc., called TT Sand Lake Inc. that purchased the land in December 2000 for $3,567,600, according to county records; the showroom was built in 2003. A representative declined comment.

Terry Taylor, owner of AMSI, and former Central Florida Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram general manager Cory Shea are listed on TT Sand Lake Inc.’s registration documents with the state. The two settled a 2012 lawsuit in which Shea had accused Taylor of fraud, Automotive News reported in March.  

In addition to seeking an entry to the Orlando market, Morgan said this business in particular had reasons to stand out.

“The store was available and we like the brands, we like the location, and we felt like the seller was running a good store,” Morgan said. “We also saw opportunity for improvement, that’s how we try to create value and improvement.

“It’s a beautiful building, and we like that as well. With it being our first entrant into Orlando, it’s a great place, and it’s large enough that if need be we could have a regional office there.”

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