Employee Owned Auto Group expands their brand offering and selection in Sheboygan County
Sheboygan, WI, September 17, 2018 – Van Horn Automotive Group has purchased Russ Darrow Nissan of Sheboygan and Russ Darrow Volkswagen of Sheboygan, located at 5515 Racetrack Road, Sheboygan, WI, from the Russ Darrow Group. The acquisition marks the second Nissan dealership and first Volkswagen dealership for the Van Horn Automotive Group, which now has sixteen total dealerships throughout Wisconsin and Iowa.
“We’re very excited to now offer 10 manufacturer brands and a selection of over 1,500 new/used vehicles under the Van Horn name in Sheboygan County,” said Chuck Van Horn, co-CEO of Van Horn Automotive Group. The south-side Sheboygan location featuring Nissan and Volkswagen add to a lineup of Sheboygan County locations, including: Van Horn Chevrolet of Plymouth, Van Horn Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Fiat of Plymouth, Van Horn Truck Center of Plymouth, Van Horn Budget Auto of Plymouth, and Van Horn Hyundai Mazda of Sheboygan. Chuck adds, “Not only does this acquisition offer another location for purchasing a vehicle from Van Horn, but also another option for vehicle service and repairs.”
The first Van Horn Dealership (Joe Van Horn Chevrolet) opened in Plymouth in 1966. Dick Strong, COO Van Horn Automotive Group said, “We got our start in Sheboygan County over 52 years ago. We are very familiar with the area and the people, and are happy to bring local ownership back to this location.
With recent acquisitions in Oconomowoc, Lomira, Stevens Point and Newhall, Iowa, our organization has been expanding quite a bit; but nothing is more satisfying than growing in our own backyard. The automotive industry is rapidly changing in the way customers buy cars; with access to more information online than ever. As we’ve grown, we’ve worked hard to improve our processes to meet customer expectations. We became the first employee owned automotive group in Wisconsin in 2016; and our associates have a heightened sense of accountability for customer satisfaction. While we’ve been in this area a long time, we invite both new and previous customers to any of our locations to experience the difference.”
“As local owners, we feel it’s important to have a strong connection to our community,” said Teresa Van Horn, co-CEO Van Horn Automotive Group. “There are several meaningful organizations right here in Sheboygan County, and this store opening is a great opportunity to give back.” During the months of October and November, Van Horn will donate $100 to Safe Harbor of Sheboygan County, for every vehicle sold from the Van Horn Nissan and Volkswagen Sheboygan location. Safe Harbor of Sheboygan County, Inc. provides prevention, intervention, education and outreach services to empower individuals, families and the community to end domestic abuse and sexual assault. “Van Horn Automotive Group has always been a long-standing supporter of Safe Harbor and invests in this community; especially those most at risk. Safe Harbor relies on the support of organizations and individuals in this community to provide critical services to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence,” said Laura Roenitz, Executive Director of Safe Harbor. “Van Horn is a leader both in the community and with cars. We are so grateful to Van Horn and their customers who support the work of the Safe Harbor team through this fundraiser.”
Van Horn Automotive Group, Inc. is a family born, employee owned automotive group with headquarters in Plymouth, Wisconsin. Founded in 1966 by Joe Van Horn as a single Chevrolet dealership, and purchased by his children: Chuck, Teresa and JP Van Horn, Van Horn Automotive Group has grown to include 16 automotive dealerships, a finance company, a real estate business and several insurance companies. The group employs over 580 people throughout Wisconsin and Iowa. For employment opportunities visit the Careers page at www.vhcars.com.
On Wednesday, September 5, 2018, Van Horn Automotive Group celebrated the grand reopening of Van Horn Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Stoughton. Previously Dane County Auto, this remodel marked the official transition to a Van Horn dealership.
Over 600 square feet of space was added to the customer lounge for comfort and convenience. In addition, the location underwent an interior and exterior renovation including a new FCA compliant façade showcasing Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram logos.
In attendance were the Stoughton County Chamber of Commerce and Stoughton Mayor, Tim Swadley. Van Horn attendants included President and COO, Dick Strong, Executive Vice President of Dealership Operations, Adam Gaedke, Platform Directors Jeff Niesen and Justin Stanford, Marketing Director Ryan Thiel, and several other Van Horn associates. Representing Keller construction was Bob Poch, the project manager for this remodel, and Emily Foley, marketing associate.
Dee from Solid Rock 94.1 WJJO in Madison was live on location for the duration of the event giving away station merchandise. Last month, WJJO partnered with Van Horn Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Stoughton to collect school supplies for under privileged children. On August 22, 2018, Shayne Miller delivered an entire van load of school supplies to Dee’s Radiothon for the Kids.
Van Horn Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Stoughton is looking forward to a lasting relationship with the Dane County community.
Stoughton, WI, July 25, 2018 – The Van Horn Automotive Group is completing a remodel of their Dane County Auto location at 1411 Highway 51 North in Stoughton, WI. This will mark the official transition of Dane County Auto to Van Horn Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram and will comply with FCA dealership requirements.
While the overall footprint of the dealership will remain consistent, several spaces were reconfigured to provide more area for customer interaction. Over 600 additional square feet was dedicated to the showroom and a fully remodeled customer lounge now includes: new appliances, updated bathrooms with luxury countertops, an internet bar, and air conditioning to the service writer room for customer comfort. “We are happy to be providing our customers with the most comfort and efficiency while they are visiting our dealership. We have updated our overall look and have added modern amenities to provide outrageous service to each and every one of our loyal customers”, said Justin Stanford, Platform Director.
In addition to the 600+ square feet of showroom updates, the existing facility also underwent an interior and exterior renovation that includes a new façade prominently showcasing Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, RAM logos, brand new, energy efficient LED lighting, new overhead doors, and a new air line for quick service on low tire pressure.
Construction of the new showroom, as well as the interior/exterior renovation will be complete mid-August, with a grand opening celebration scheduled for Wednesday, September 5, 2018. Keller, Inc. was the design/build general contractor.
The Van Horn Automotive Group is a family born, employee owned automotive group with headquarters in Plymouth, Wisconsin. Founded in 1966 by Joe Van Horn as a single Chevrolet dealership, and purchased by his children: Chuck, Teresa and JP Van Horn, the Van Horn Automotive Group has grown to include 13 automotive dealerships, a finance company, a real estate business and several insurance companies. The group employs over 500 people throughout Wisconsin and Iowa. For employment opportunities visit the Careers page at www.vanhornauto.com.
For more information on Keller, Inc., Top Metal Builder in the Nation as reported by “Metal Construction News” visit www.kellerbuilds.com.
Stevens Point, WI, July 2, 2018 – The Van Horn Automotive Group has announced the purchase of Stevens Point Nissan from Home Run Auto Group, located at 301 Green Avenue N, Stevens Point, WI. This marks the 13th dealership to be part of the Van Horn Automotive Group, and the 1st Nissan dealership.
With plans for a greater new and used inventory and further developing the service center, Van Horn aims to retain and increase the staff of employees. “We believe in investing in all the communities that we serve,” said Dick Strong, Chief Operating Officer of Van Horn Automotive Group. “The Stevens Point community is strong, with a diverse mix of business, education, culture and the arts. We’re humbled to operate in such a vibrant town.”
“Nissan is a brand we’ve wanted to sell for years, and Stevens Point is a great location; very accessible from every direction,” says Chuck Van Horn, CEO for Van Horn Automotive Group. “It took the right opportunity to make this possible, and we’re humbled to operate in such a vibrant town.”
This acquisition marks the thirteenth dealership location for Van Horn Automotive Group which operates in several areas across the state of Wisconsin, including: Plymouth, Sheboygan, Manitowoc, Fond du Lac, Lomira, Stoughton, Milwaukee and Oconomowoc and Newhall, IA. This is the first Nissan dealership for the group which carries several manufacturers, including: Chevrolet, Ford, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Fiat, Hyundai and Mazda.
The Van Horn Automotive Group is a family born, employee owned automotive group with headquarters in Plymouth, Wisconsin. Founded in 1966 by Joe Van Horn as a single Chevrolet dealership, and purchased by his children: Chuck, Teresa and JP Van Horn, the Van Horn Automotive Group has grown to include 13 automotive dealerships, a finance company, a real estate business and several insurance companies. The group employs over 500 people throughout Wisconsin and Iowa. For employment opportunities visit the Careers page at www.vhcars.com.
Memorial Day Test Drive for Charity
On Memorial Day weekend, Van Horn Automotive Group took a different approach to customer test drives. For every test drive taken May 25, 26, and 28, 2018, Van Horn offered to donate $20 to Children of Fallen Patriots, a foundation that provides college scholarships and education to children who have lost a parent serving in the military. “We’ve been open on Memorial Day in the past,” said Marketing Director Ryan Thiel, “but we wanted to move away from a typical sales event and keep the focus on those who gave everything for our freedom and their families.”
Test Drive Results
After the event, the totals were combined from all 12 Van Horn locations throughout Wisconsin and Iowa equaling 221 test drives and a donation of $4,420. “We believe one of the best ways we can honor our fallen heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country is to invest in the future of those they loved most in the world: their children,” notes David Kim, co-founder and CEO of Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation. “Through their Memorial Day campaign, Van Horn Automotive Group has generated awareness for our mission and raised over $4,400 in funding for our Gold Star scholars. We couldn’t be more honored to receive Van Horn Automotive Group’s support.”
Thanks for Driving
Lastly, the Van Horn family would like to thank everyone that came out to test drive a vehicle. Whether it was a car someone was possibly interested in purchasing or a ride in a convertible, we appreciate everyone that came out.
A new structure provides defined leadership roles positioned for growth.
Teresa Van Horn has been promoted to co-Chief Executive Officer (CEO), and will share ownership duties with co-CEO and brother, Chuck Van Horn. Chuck states, “Teresa’s steady leadership and unwavering commitment to the Auto Group and the communities it serves propelled her into this role.” Her previous role was Chief Operating Officer (COO) for Van Horn Automotive Group.
Dick Strong will take over as Chief Operating Officer, adding to his role as Group President; a position he’s held since 2013. “With almost 40 years of experience in all areas of the auto business, there is no challenge that Dick hasn’t seen many times before,” says co-CEO Chuck Van Horn. “He is intimately connected to every detail of our complex business, and demands a high moral standard of himself, which is reflected by all those who work and deal with him.”
General Council Basil Buchko will accept the role of Executive VP – Legal and Compliance, and will continue to provide legal representation and direction for Van Horn Automotive Group. Chief Financial Officer Tom Stocco will also increase his role as Executive VP – Finance and Real Estate Operations. “As we expand our footprint to include more dealerships, retail finance and insurance as well as real estate development, it becomes more important to have strong legal and financial leadership for all Van Horn holdings,” says new COO Dick Strong. “In just the last three years, both Basil and Tom have been integral constituents in Van Horn’s growth.”
Adam Gaedke has escalated from his position of Platform Vice President to Executive Vice President of Dealership Operations. In this new role, Gaedke will optimize the efficiency of sales and service operations at all Van Horn dealerships. “Adam brings a clear, tenured vision of the culture; a transparent customer experience we want to impress upon anyone who deals with us,” says co-CEO Chuck Van Horn. “He is a positive leader, who treats everyone with respect and integrity, and instills the same values in his people.”
Mark Watson will serve as the Vice President of Operations for Wisconsin Dealer Services. “As a former Finance Director and Sales Vice President with a passion for training others, Mark’s energy and drive for continuous improvement made this appointment an easy decision,” says new co-CEO Teresa Van Horn.
Four Platform Directors have been assigned to oversee the performance of Van Horn dealerships; aligned by factory brand. They will be responsible for managing positive relationships with automobile manufacturers in executing program goals, and build strong teams to achieve profitability. Justin Stanford – Platform Director, FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) dealerships. Kyle Fale – Platform Director, Hyundai dealerships, Brad Knight – Platform Director, Ford dealerships. Jeff Niesen – Platform Director, Chevrolet and Mazda dealerships as well as Van Horn Budget and Van Horn Latino used car dealerships.
Chuck Van Horn adds “This realignment of senior management will create a greater economy of scale for the entire organization. As we expand, we will be readily equipped to handle more business with a high rate of operational efficiency and expense control.”
On Saturday, May 5, 2018, Van Horn Hyundai of Fond du Lac held a Test Drive Fundraiser for a local youth named Kevin Kollmann. Kevin was born with Cerebral Palsy and is an honor roll student at Fond du Lac High School. He is planning to attend UW Whitewater to pursue a degree in Science Education. Kevin needs a wheelchair accessible vehicle that will allow him to drive to work and school.
Van Horn’s Test Drive Event brought in over $1,000 for Kevin’s cause. In addition to the test drives, Sunny 97.7 and Rock 95 & 96-1 the Rock were on location with giveaways, as well as Ang an Eddie’s Chicago Style Hot Dog Cart, who graciously donated 10% of their profits. It was a beautiful, sunny day, and Kevin had a great time riding with some of his fan’s during their test drives.
Brett Fosdick, Sales Manager at US Cellular, was the lucky recipient of the Pay-it-Forward award. He chose to pay it forward to Meals on Wheels of Sheboygan County, Inc. He stated that he chose Meals on Wheels of Sheboygan County because “they have helped out a peer of mine who was in need in the past. I believe it’s a great service for people who aren’t able to leave the confines of their homes to be able to get meals delivered to their homes.”
Van Horn has sponsored the Pay-it-Forward donation for the past four years, benefiting other local organizations such as the Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice, the Sheboygan County Cancer Care Fund, and RCS Empowers Inc.
Teresa Van Horn believes it is very important as a pillar of the communities we live to give back to the community and support one another. “We have been very fortunate to have the support of our communities these past 50 years. Pay-it-forward gives us the opportunity to say thank you and give the community the additional opportunity to help each other out. The support that communities receive from our business and the many other businesses will help us to continue to grow and remain strong for the future,” says Van Horn.