“Ford has had an initiative to have less locations and hold the ones that will remain to a higher level of expectations than they have in the past,” said Bruce Schindler, president of Parkville-based Bob Davidson Ford.
Koons will still have its Kia and Volvo vehicles available at the Owings Mills site, but will move its Lincoln and Mercury inventory to Bob Davidson Ford.
This isn’t the first time Bob Davidson has acquired another dealership. In the past few years, the dealership took on Towson Ford, Dulaney Lincoln Mercury, Apple Lincoln Mercury, Donahoo Ford, two Hinder Lincoln Mercury locations and Thompson Lincoln Mercury in Dundalk.
Schindler said the Bob Davidson is about to upgrade its facility this year. The dealership also is not actively looking for any other acquisitions right now, he said.
Ford Motor Co. announced in 2006 that it wanted to cut down its total number of dealerships. A smaller base would make the remaining dealers stronger and help them serve customers better, Ford said. Ford’s market share had shrunk to 10.6 percent last year, according to the Maryland Automobile Dealers Association. In 2006, the company’s market share had been 16 percent.
Peter Kitzmiller, president of the Maryland Automobile Dealers Association, said that while Ford’s initiative started before a mass closure of many dealerships in the area, he expects only a few more consolidations to happen in the near future.
“Most of the reorganization with regards to dealerships has been done by this point,” Kitzmiller said. “Going forward it will be a positive thing for those dealers remaining.”
Auto giants General Motors and Chrysler have cut their number of dealerships in the Baltimore area and elsewhere amid their financial troubles. In 2009, Chrysler closed 17 dealerships across the state, among 789 it shed nationwide. General Motors notified 1,100 car dealership owners they would be closing as well that year. The closures have changed retail landscape and opened up space for other commercial projects.
In Baltimore, developers plan to turn a parcel at West 25th and Howard streets now home to Anderson Automotive Group into a retail complex anchored by Walmart and Lowe’s.
Last September, Schaefer & Strohminger’s former properties went on the auction block as well. The largest was the 5-acre Dodge dealership on Belair and Ridge roads.
The industry is expected to pick up in Maryland this year, according to the Automobile Dealers Association. New vehicle registrations — which is how the industry gauges growth — are expected to increase 8.2 percent from 2010. But even with that increase, the market will still be deemed weak based on historical averages, the association said.