The Keffer Automotive Group acquired Terry Reid’s Bulldog Kia on Monday, November 8 2010. Keffer’s dealer group is headquartered in Charlotte, NC where the family has operated dealerships since 1974. Says owner Jim Keffer, “We’re not a typical dealer group”. “We have a base of dealerships in Charlotte that act as a hub for growth to markets all over the southeast. Keffer’s university system in the Charlotte area operates one of the nation’s top selling Hyundai dealerships as well as other brands including VW, Mitsubishi, Kia and a Premium brand used car operation.
When asked about the attraction to the Kia brand in Athens, Keffer indicated that this would be the 3rd Kia store the group had acquired. We’re finding the market is ready for this brand. The quality and safety ratings of the new Kias is verifiably on par with the Toyota and Honda and the brand still enjoys a significant price advantage on a model to model basis that really makes a difference in today’s economy. “It’s just not as cool as it used to be to pay a lot for your car, and Kia’s 5 year 60,000 bumper to bumper warranty and 10 year 100,000 mile Powertrain warranty are just icing on the cake. Just wait until you see the all new Kia Optima Sedan due in the Showroom this month. This car is an absolute game changer. It’s really an exciting time to be a Kia dealer”.
So what makes Keffer different than most dealer groups? “What makes Keffer different is that we allow our General managers, who do a great job, the opportunity to earn a store of their own. It’s a 100% buy out opportunity for a store operator who has proven him/herself as trustworthy, competent and committed to the highest standards of customer service.” That’s an important difference because it means that David Kernall, Keffer’s operator for Bulldog Kia can make the store his own if he can earn the trust and confidence of Athens car shoppers.
Kernall is a former marine and auto industry veteran. He and wife Tracy have 4 girls, and are in the process of moving the family here to Athens. Says Kernall “Living in a town like Athens and earning the opportunity to own my own car dealership, is something I’ve been dreaming about for years. It’s the chance of a lifetime, and my family and I are extremely excited about making Athens our home”
Keffer and Kernall have no plans to change the name of the dealership, citing, “we both think it’s a perfect name”. There should be no business interruption in service or sales hours and Grand Opening specials are expected to hit the web site before weeks end.