Mark McLarty Buys Bale Honda in Little Rock

by Lance Turner  on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014 9:01 am  

Mark McLarty (left) is the new owner of Bale Honda in Little Rock. It will be rebranded as Landers-McLarty Honda with Steve Landers Jr. (right) handling day-to-day operations of the auto dealership. (Photo by Landers-McLarty Honda)

Mark McLarty said Thursday that he has acquired Bale Honda in Little Rock from John H. “Johnny” Bale and John Sahene.

The dealership, at 10 Col. Glenn Court in Little Rock, will operate as Landers-McLarty Honda, with Steve Landers Jr. overseeing day-to-day operations. 

"Stevie and I are interested to grow this over the long term," McLarty told Arkansas Business. "To really have this be a cornerstone in what could be decades to come in building up [an auto] group …"

Terms of the deal, which has been approved American Honda Motor Co. Inc., were not disclosed. 

Bale Honda is McLarty’s first acquisition in Arkansas since he led the merger of North Point Automotive, a Little Rock-based dealer group, with Asbury Automotive Group in 1999. The merger was part of a wave of auto dealership consolidations around that time.

"I am pleased to invest in Arkansas and such an outstanding business in my hometown and my home state," McLarty said in a news release announcing the deal. "Bale Honda has been a market leader for many decades, and I look forward to building on that strong foundation. I believe there is plenty of room for growth in the future. Honda is a world-class brand with outstanding products."

Landers said he’s excited about his role in the dealership.

"My experience has taught me that success at the dealership level is driven by a talented team that can best serve the evolving needs of the customer," he said.

Bale owns the Bale Automotive Group, which was founded in 1912. It owns Bale Chevrolet at 13101 Chenal Parkway in Little Rock.

McLarty returns to Arkansas after building and leading auto businesses in Brazil, China and Mexico where he has lived and worked for the last 15 years. He is one of the sons of Thomas F. "Mack" McLarty, whose family has been in the automobile dealership business since 1921, and who has his own dealership holdings.

Mark McLarty began his overseas businesses in 1999, buying a majority stake of the Caltabiano dealership group in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

In 2005, he moved to China and, with TPG Capital, co-founded China Grand Auto and worked as the company’s first CEO. Three years later, McLarty led an investor group that acquired a controlling interest in YanJun Automotive, the largest BMW and Mini dealership group in China, from Citigroup.



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