BOUNTIFUL - The names Willey Ford and Willey Honda may officially be gone.
The dealerships are continuing as part of the new Performance Autoplex, which is headquartered at Toyota of Bountiful.
“I think they realized it was a good time to sell after being in business more than 60 years,” said Kirk Bengtzen, general manager of Toyota of Bountiful.
The deal was finalized about two weeks ago.
The purchase also included the Quality Automotive Group of dealerships in Tooele that were owned by the Willeys.
Some 300 to 400 employees are involved in the new, combined dealerships, Bengtzen said. The vast majority of the staff has elected to stay on after the purchase.
“We offered everybody a job,” he said. “Some retired, such as some who had more than 30 years of service at Willey Ford.”
“We’ve been wanting to expand,” Bengtzen said. Discussions started after Menlove Toyota was purchased more than three years ago.
Bill Barnes will be the general manager of the Ford dealership and Jerry Anidan will oversee Honda. Trent Bell will oversee all of the stores.
Bengtzen’s business partner is Mike Dever, who divides his time between Utah and Cincinnati, Ohio.
Bengtzen first got well acquainted with Menlove Toyota as a partner to then-owner Wes Johnson from 2000 to 2005.
“We’re real excited,” he said of the acquisition. “Willey’s has done a good job,” he said of the decades-old business that can count thousands of South Davis customers over the years.
“We’re the number one Toyota volume store in the state,” Bengtzen said, “and have the highest customer satisfaction, two years running.”
The group plans to build a new Honda store in the same location, probably next year.
“We will put a lot of the same customer-friendly amenities in it that we did with this (Toyota) store,” he said.
Those amenities even include a gym customers can use while their vehicles are serviced.
“Our expectation is to double or even triple sales” at the Ford and Honda locations, he said. “We will employ more people, bring more of a tax base.”
Currently, about 100 vehicles a month are sold typically at each of those locations, and 275 to 325 a month at the Toyota dealership.
Bengtzen said the slogan that has been in place at Toyota of Bountiful is now system wide: “Put a smile on your face, every customer, every day!”
“That’s our trademark. For our customers, we need to go the extra mile to make them happy,” Bengtzen said.
Customers will notice that banners are up announcing the new name. A ribbon cutting is due to be scheduled later.
Willey Ford was started by the late Marion Willey in 1949 in downtown Bountiful. The Honda/Lincoln/Mercury lines were added later.
The Ford dealership saw a major remodel about 5 years ago, timed to coincide with the 60-year anniversary.