GM DEALERSHIPS Youngstown Buick to buy and upgrade Spartan Chevrolet



The Boardman dealer expects to add 25 jobs by acquiring the dealership.
By DON SHILLING
VINDICATOR BUSINESS EDITOR
BOARDMAN -- Youngstown Buick Pontiac GMC is buying Spartan Chevrolet and has plans to upgrade the dealership and increase sales.
"Our forecast is to double sales relatively soon,'' said Doug Sweeney, who owns Youngstown Buick with his brother, Dave.
He declined to release the terms of the deal with the Scotford family, which owns Spartan. The deal needs to be approved by General Motors Corp., which is expected about Sept. 1. Both dealerships are on Market Street.
The Sweeneys said the location of the Chevrolet dealership will be retained, although a new name will be selected later. They said they have a long-term plan to renovate and expand the dealership.
In the near term, the Sweeneys expect to add 25 workers in addition to the employees now at both dealerships. The dealerships have about 175 employees. The new workers will be primarily sales representatives and service technicians.
Cobalt launch
"It's an exciting time for Chevrolet, in particular in the Mahoning Valley with the fall launch of the Lordstown-built Cobalt, and we have big ambitions for this franchise," Dave Sweeney said.
The Cobalt, which is due out in October, is replacing the Chevrolet Cavalier. The Sweeneys said that last year Youngstown Buick was the nation's biggest seller of Pontiac Sunfires, which is the twin of the Cavalier and had been built at Lordstown until this past May.
Youngstown Buick has been the largest single-site GM dealer in Ohio the past two years. In 2002, Youngstown Buick was the first Mahoning Valley dealership to sell more than 5,000 vehicles in a year and it also passed that mark last year.
Doug Sweeney said adding the Chevrolet line is a natural fit because the dealership already has three other GM lines. Also, the Sweeney family used to sell Chevrolets.
Arthur Sweeney, Doug and Dave's grandfather, started State Chevrolet on Wick Avenue in Youngstown 49 years ago. The family sold the franchise in 1998.
Buick dealership
Youngstown Buick Pontiac GMC traces its roots to 1921 with the beginning of Stearns Motor Sales Co. by Eugene Hopper, the Sweeneys' great-uncle. Arthur Sweeney joined the company years later with his wife, Carolyn, Hopper's sister.
The company changed its name to Buick Youngstown and moved to Wick Avenue in 1931.
Robert Sweeney, the current owners' father who died two years ago, came on board in the 1950s. He decided to move the business to Boardman and led the dealership through rapid growth.
After moving to Boardman in 1986, the dealership later acquired GMC and Pontiac franchises.
Doug Sweeney said that there are no plans now for other acquisitions but that he and his brother will consider other deals under the right conditions.
shilling@vindy.com

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