Bob Johnson Auto Group expanding in state’s north country | Local News

WATERTOWN — A Rochester car dealership has bought out the company that ran F.X. Caprara dealerships in the north country for the past few years.

The Bob Johnson Auto Group — which boasts it has the “Number One Chevy Dealership in the Nation” — purchased the Chevrolet Buick, Ford Volkswagen and Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram dealerships on U.S. Route 11 in Watertown.

In the four-county GLOW Region, the auto group owns Bob Johnson GM in Le Roy, Bob Johnson 390 Chevrolet in Avon and Genesee Valley Ford and Genesee Valley Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Avon.

Bob Johnson Chevrolet took over operations Sept. 1, said Dave Lucas, general sales manager for the Chevrolet dealership.

The dealerships were sold by the Prime Auto Group, which owns more than 60 dealerships in eight states.

“They wanted to sell,” Mr. Lucas said.

Terms were not disclosed. The Bob Johnson Auto Group wanted to expand into the north country, he said.

The company plans to triple its volume and sales, add sales staff and increase advertising, he said.

“I think you’re going to find a lot of changes,” he said, stressing that sales volume and “making deals” are at the heart of the company’s success.

The Bob Johnson Auto Group is owned by Gregory Stahl and John Love. They currently own 11 dealerships and have more than 750 employees.

In 2001, Mr. Stahl purchased the Bob Johnson Chevy dealership from original owner Robert Johnson, who started the business in Buffalo before relocating it to Rochester in 1985. Mr. Stahl has been with the Bob Johnson company since 1988.

Prime Auto Group purchased the local dealerships from brothers William F. and Charles G. Caprara in a complicated deal that was consummated in 2018.

The brothers were interested in buying them back from Prime Auto Group before Bob Johnson scooped them up.

“I think it was out there they were interested,” Mr. Lucas said.

The Capraras continue to own the Honda dealership on outer Bradley Street in Watertown, a Kia dealership in Alexandria Bay and a Harley-Davidson dealership in Adams Center. They recently announced they would be relocating the Kia dealership to Bradley Street next to the Honda store.

In recent years, Prime Auto Group’s parent company, GPB Capital, New York City, went through reported legal troubles with investigations by the FBI and the U.S. Securities and Exchange.

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