Drew Ford changes hands after decades – U-T San Diego

Posted: Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Drew auto dealership, a La Mesa staple since 1927, has been sold to SoCal Penske Dealer Group, the privately held company announced Tuesday.

Drew, which sold Ford and Hyundai, was known locally for its jingle that went, “Come to Drew Ford and you’ll find out, what Drew value is all about.” Its “Drew Roundhouse of Values” is a landmark just south of Interstate 8 near La Mesa Boulevard. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Elmer Drew founded the dealership in 1927, selling Fords. In 1986, it was among the first in the nation to sell Hyundai. Elmer’s son, Joe Drew, managed the dealership for decades, but died in April at 74 after a battle with cancer. His son, Bill Drew, has managed it most recently.

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Drew Ford in La Mesa was the 11th California dealership to carry the Hyundai brand.

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Drew Ford in La Mesa was the 11th California dealership to carry the Hyundai brand.

“The Drew family is grateful to the people of San Diego County for the opportunity to be of service to them all these years,” Bill Drew said in a statement. “We are very excited to have an organization like SoCal Penske continue that legacy here in La Mesa, and continue to maintain the high level of standards in vehicle sales and customer service.”

The dealerships will now be called Penske Ford and Penske Hyundai, and will be revamped into state-of-the-art facilities, a Penske news release says. Cynthia Thomas, general counsel for Penske, said the Drew family is keeping the land, but that Penske has entered into a long-term lease back as it invests in the property.

A layoff notice filed by Drew Ford last month says it expects many of the dealership’s 281 employees to be retained by Penske. Thomas said a substantial number of those workers would remain on staff, but did not elaborate on how many.

Roger Penske Jr., president of So Cal Penske, said in a statement that the company looked forward to managing the dealership.

“We are thrilled to add the Drew Ford and Drew Hyundai dealerships to our group and to count their employees, guests, and neighbors among our friends and family,” he said. “We admire the Drew family’s strong community ties and plan to strengthen community relations by making additional investments in the city of La Mesa and the surrounding area.”

SoCal Penske now operates 13 dealerships that sell 19 makes, including Audi, Buick, Cadillac, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota.

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