In an effort to consolidate, major automobile companies across the country have been buying back franchises from their owners. James Doyle II, owner of Jim Doyle Ford in Kenmore, has decided to participate in the buyback and close his dealership.
As of June 30 the dealership will close its doors at its Delaware Avenue location after 35 years of business. It is the second Doyle dealership to close in a month. On May 30, Kane Doyle Jeep was bought out by DaimlerChrysler and closed after 24 years of business.
"Part of Ford Motor Company's consolidation plan meant them going around to areas where there were more dealerships than they wanted and offering to buy back the franchise. When they offered the buyback to us, it was a substantial offer and economically good deal," Doyle said.
Doyle declined to reveal the price.
The deal was reached with the cooperation of Ford and the following dealerships: West Herr Ford of Amherst, Basil Ford, Steve Baldo Ford, Dave Smith Ford, West Herr Ford of Hamburg, Delacy Ford, Towne Ford and Gambino Ford.
The consolidation has not hurt sales, according to the Ford Dealers of Western New York.
In May, area Ford dealers sold 1,720 cars, a 30 percent hike from May 2006, when 1,329 were sold, with less stock being kept at area dealerships.
Paul Stasiak, president of the Niagara Frontier Automobile Dealers Association, said customers shouldn't feel a lot of negative impact from Ford dealers consolidating.
"Customers may have to drive further to get to a dealership, but things like vehicle selection and pricing won't change," Stasiak said.
Stasiak did note consolidation is a joint decision between a manufacturer and a dealership.
"The shrinking population and less of a manufacturing base in Western New York do contribute to consolidations happening. It's disheartening to see great dealers, like Jim Doyle, have to make a decision to close because our economic climate isn't what it once was," Stasiak said.
Currently, Doyle has 63 employees. Once his dealership closes, most of his employees will be absorbed into other area dealerships.
"My number one priority was to make sure all my employees had jobs. I met with them all recently and told them I would help them find employment before the dealership closes," Doyle said.
As part of the deal reached, Doyle does maintain ownership of the dealership property on Delaware Avenue. Doyle does not have any plans for the future of the property.
"Right now, I have options with the property. I could sell or lease it, and I am keeping my options open," Doyle said.
James Militello, president of Militello Reality, a commercial real estate company, said the property where the dealership is located is valuable, considering its location and versatility.
"Generally, auto dealership structures are well built and offer many uses. Even a food related business, like a themed restaurant, could put the property to use," Militello said.
As for his future plans, Doyle is keeping his options open as well. He plans to take a month off after his Ford dealership closes and spend time with his family.
"I am going to use that time to figure out what I want to do when I grow up," he joked. "I am confident with my skills and I think there is a myriad of opportunities out there. I do hope to stay in the Buffalo area."