Local car dealer Jim Ellena has purchased the local Nissan Motors franchise and incorporated it into his Buick, Jeep-Eagle and Subaru dealership, 2112 W. 29th Ter.
Since earlier this year, Ellena had been operating Tony's Nissan, 2829 Iowa, under a management agreement with Casey Vangemeren, the franchise's former owner, pending approval of the sale by the manufacturer. Ellena said Nissan notified him that it had sanctioned the sale last week.
Now that the deal is final, the Nissan inventory and service department have been moved around the corner to the Jim Ellena lot. Ellena said this morning that the Nissan acquisition is one component in a planned expansion at his dealership.
"We're developing an autoplex concept where we're going to have more automobile availability and more service availability and yet keep distinct product lines" between makes of automobile, Ellena said.
In addition to increasing new-car sales inventory and expanding service departments, Ellena said he will expand sales of program cars late-model automobiles that have been retired from leasing programs and are available for resale.
"We may have an additional lot for that," Ellena said.
In the past the dealership has sold Chrysler and General Motors program cars but will add Nissan program cars, he said.
Meanwhile, an employee of John Smith Toyota, 2300 W. 29th Ter., one door west of the Jim Ellena dealership, said that business will move to the former Tony's Nissan lot. Smith bought the Tony's property last year.
"We will be moving by the end of the month, I'm sure," said Janet Moore, executive secretary at Smith's dealership.
Ellena, who owns the property on which Smith's dealership currently is located, said he had no immediate plans to use it because more than a year remained on Smith's lease.
The Jim Ellena dealership is one of two owned in Lawrence that are owned by members of the Ellena family. Jack Ellena, Jim's father, owns Ellena Honda, 2957 Four Wheel Dr. Another Ellena brother, John, is general manager of the Honda franchise.
Vangemeren could not be reached this morning for comment about his plans now that Tony's Nissan has been sold. Previously, Vangemeren said he planned to stay in Lawrence.
Vangemeren had owned the dealership since buying it three years ago from his father, Anthonie Vangemeren, who started the business in 1970.