Whispers can hardly pick up the phone these days without hearing another rumor about shakeups in the central Arkansas auto market. It’s hard to chase them all down, especially with so many nondisclosure agreements.
But here’s what we feel comfortable telling:
McLarty Automotive Group — that’s Mark McLarty’s business, not Daddy Mack’s — will be scooping up what’s left of Asbury Automotive Group in Arkansas. The Asbury website tells us that’s BMW of Little Rock, Volvo of Little Rock and North Point Ford/Lincoln and North Point Toyota/Scion, both on Landers Road in North Little Rock.
(Did someone say Landers? Hold that thought.)
Asbury also has North Point body shops in Little Rock and North Little Rock, so those presumably will be part of the deal, which seems to be moving toward completion by the end of the year.
Last year, MAG bought four other central Arkansas dealerships from Asbury: North Point Nissan, North Little Rock Nissan, North Point Mazda and North Point Volkswagen.
Some of the Whispers crew has been around long enough to remember that those North Point dealerships belonged to Mack McLarty.
That is until he sold controlling interest to Asbury back in 1998.
Speaking of Landers …
But here’s some even bigger McLarty news:
MAG is also working on a deal for Penske Automotive Group’s Landers franchises in Benton.
That would be Landers Chevrolet and Landers Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Fiat & Alfa Romeo, possibly the longest company name in the history of Arkansas Business.
Hard to imagine the Landers name disappearing from the Interstate 30 landscape in Saline County, but it could alleviate the confusion between the dealerships that Steve Landers Sr. sold to Penske almost two decades ago and those that his sons still operate in Little Rock.