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Old 05-01-07, 06:36 PM
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Red McCombs Automotive buys Gillespie Ford

Red McCombs Automotive buys Gillespie Ford
San Antonio Business Journal - 2:52 PM CDT Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Red McCombs Automotive Group has purchased Gillespie Ford, one of San Antonio's oldest Ford dealerships, for an undisclosed amount.

Red McCombs Automotive and the Gillespie family inked the deal officially on April 30.

It must still receive final approval by Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) -- which is expected to occur within the next two or three months, says Marsha McCombs Shields, dealer principal for Red McCombs Ford and Red McCombs Toyota.

Once Ford Motor approves McCombs Automotive as the new operator, Shields will take over as dealer principal for Gillespie Ford, the city's top Ford dealership. Until then, the dealership will retain the Gillespie brand name. Herman Ford, a 35 year employee of Red McCombs Automotive, on Tuesday became the new general manager of Gillespie Ford.

Even though Ford Motor Co.'s problems have dominated the news as of late, Ford still is a quality brand in Texas that will only get better, Shields says.

"It is an expression of our confidence in Ford Motor Co.," she says of the purchase. "We think Ford is getting to be in a position of being a leader once again."

McCombs operates dealerships in San Antonio that sell Ford, Toyota, GMC, Hyundai, Pontiac and Scion vehicles. Buying Gillespie Ford dealership gives McCombs its second Ford dealership in the city. McCombs already operates a Ford dealership at 8333 IH-10 West in Northwest San Antonio.

For years, Gillespie Ford has been known locally by its catchy jingle "You can afford a Ford when you buy from Gillespie." Now under new ownership, a new chapter is turning for the family-owned business.

Most of San Antonio's auto dealerships are family-owned and locally controlled. The sale of Gillespie to McCombs keeps the dealership under local control, Shields says. The McCombs and Gillespie families have known each other since the 1950s.

"Elizabeth Gillespie has provided outstanding leadership for this great organization for more than 25 years and has represented several generations of her family while building Gillespie Ford into the successful establishment that it is today," McCombs Automotive states in prepared comments announcing the deal.

"We plan to build on the successes already accomplished here with the great cars and trucks built by Ford," the statement continues. "And of course, we will continue to provide the vehicle service and customer satisfaction everyone has come to expect from Gillespie."

Gillespie Ford has 200 employees in San Antonio. The dealership is located at 7111 NW Loop 410 in Northwest San Antonio.

"We're very proud of the Gillespie tradition," former Gillespie Ford President Carl Schenken says. "It's a real credit to the people at Gillespie Ford. Elizabeth is proud that Red McCombs and his family are taking it over."

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