The Marin County automotive dealership landscape will change by year’s end with a new upstart company joining the ranks and an old county- favorite moving down the road.
Penske Automotive Group, a Michigan-based company, is planning to build a new Mini Cooper dealership on the site of the current Honda dealership, located at 5880 Paradise Drive in Corte Madera while Honda shifts gears and moves to 2 Shoreline Parkway in San Rafael.
Honda General Manager Keith Rey said the plan calls for the Honda dealership move to be completed by June and the Mini dealership to be up and running by October. Penske owns both dealerships.
The new Honda dealership will feature about 35,000 square feet of sales, a service bay, and a body shop on the site of the former Chevrolet dealership in East San Rafael. Demolition is underway in San Rafael while story poles have been erected at the Honda dealership.
Most of the plans have successfully navigated the official processes required by each of the appropriate cities. Last week, the Corte Madera planning Planning commission Commission approved the design of the new two-story Mini facility, which features glass and modern architecture.
“We really didn’t want to just pull up stakes and walk away,” Rey said. “The town has been great to us, and the community too. Mini is a great brand and one we felt would resonate with Marin County auto buyers. We’re really looking at this as a win-win.”
The Mini plan calls for the demolition of the existing 6,811- square- foot showroom and the construction of a new 7,778-square- foot Mini of Marin showroom. The plan also calls for an upgraded and expanded body- shop facility on site.
Marin Honda has been at that location since 1991. Rey served as sales manager until being promoted to Honda’s GM in 1999.
“We’re excited about it,” Rey said. “Mini is a great brand, just like Honda.”
Rey said the new Mini dealership will be the first in the North Bay. Other sites include San Francisco and Walnut Creek.
“From a point of customer convenience, this is going to be really a great location for them,” Rey said.
Rey said the new Honda site in San Rafael will give the dealership an opportunity to better served the company’s clientele.
“It’s going to be a welcomed change,” Rey said. “We’re hoping to increase the quality of the customer’s experience.”
Rey said the size of the new Honda facility will be roughly 35,000 square feet. It will include a 13-square- foot sales area and a 22,000-square- foot service department. The East San Rafael location was built in 2001, Rey said.
Penske Automotive has its hands in all aspects of the automotive business, including a highly successful race team.
“Penske has a great tradition of success in the business,” Rey said.
“If we can continue our high degree of customer satisfaction and keep getting happy engaged employees, everything else will fall into place,” Rey said. “That’s really our business model.”