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Two new auto dealerships opt to open in Santa Clarita

The addition brings the number of locally available brands to 25

Posted: March 31, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: March 31, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Santa Clarita is already home to the largest collection of automotive dealerships in Southern California, giving residents a wide selection from which to shop and buy locally. But two more dealerships announced last year they are opening for business.

Santa Clarita is currently home to 23 domestic and foreign vehicle brands. Executives for each of the auto groups launching the Mini Cooper and Audi dealerships both pointed to Santa Clarita as being a prime market for their vehicles.

Both AutoNation and the Keyes Automotive Group already own dealerships in the city, so they know the market, what residents are shopping for and that they can be successful in the area.

 Mini Cooper

With a $1.8-million renovation of a former dealership on Creekside Drive, AutoNation expects to open Mini Cooper of Valencia in June of this year, said Marc Cannon, senior vice president with the auto group.

The work in progress involves demolishing the front half of the showroom and rebuilding it, as well as remodeling and reroofing the service area, expanding the former 22,000-square-foot facility with 28 auto bays.

"We’ve had a lot of success with Mini, and make good decisions where we put franchises," Cannon said last October. "We see this as an excellent market."

The new Mini Cooper of Valencia will complement the BMW dealership in Santa Clarita, which AutoNation also owns, he said.

AutoNation owns and operates all of its dealerships, totaling 268 vehicle franchises in 15 states, Cannon said.

"The company has been creating new dealerships for a long time, and is pretty good at turning them quickly," he said.

The Mini is a very distinctive brand that the American consumer has embraced, Cannon said. It is a small, sporty luxury car with high technology and German engineering. And with gas prices increasing, AutoNation believes that the Mini will become a great alternative vehicle that is both efficient and comfortable, he said.

"It will do wonderful in Valencia," Cannon said. "There is a huge demand for them, and we think you’ll continue to see that grow."


An executive with the Keyes Automotive Group said a new Audi dealership is set to open in Valencia, as well, though the auto group’s timeline has been pushed back to 2014.

"We hope to break ground in the next three to four months," said Howard Tenenbaum, vice president of the auto group. "We’re looking to open it later in the first quarter of 2014."

Construction of a new Audi dealership on Creekside Drive is expected to cost in excess of $10 million, Tenenbaum said. The automotive group already purchased the site between Valencia Acura and California Superstores Valencia Kia.

"We’re tearing down the old Jeep store and building a brand new facility," he said.

A plan has been submitted to tear down the existing building and build a new 31,681-square-foot facility. The current building is 22,000 square feet, said Mike Ascione, assistant planner with the city of Santa Clarita. The plan will then be submitted to Building and Safety for a plan check, he said.

The Keyes Audi dealership in Van Nuys was awarded the Santa Clarita dealership, Tenenbaum said last October.

Santa Clarita is in their general market area, and they want to "expand its footprint," he said. The Keyes Automotive Group owns Lexus of Valencia, as well.

The decision to grant the new luxury auto dealership to Keyes was a business decision to give it to a good dealer, Tenenbaum said. Its Audi dealership in Van Nuys was given a Magna Society Award by the manufacturer for its 2011 sales, solid financial foundation and high customer-satisfaction scores.

"Keyes likes the Santa Clarita Valley for its self-contained community where residents can shop where they live," Tenenbaum said.




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