Two longtime Rome car dealers have swapped brands, but there are no changes in the companies’ ownership.
The Riverside and Heritage auto groups exchanged the Hyundai and Buick/GMC lines of automobiles so that Riverside is now a full service GMC dealer while Heritage sells Hyundai in addition to Honda and Nissan.
Andy Welborn with Riverside said that he and Mike Barron Jr. at Heritage had been working on the deal for some time.
Riverside also moved the base for its Cadillac franchise to Welborn’s Cartersville location. However, the Rome shop will still service and be able to sell Cadillacs from the store on U.S. 411 East.
“Population density has a lot to do with it,” Welborn said, explaining that the decision to move the Cadillac line to Bartow County puts it closer to the north metro market.
As far as the swap with Heritage goes, Welborn said he simply wants to get better aligned with General Motors products.
Barron said essentially the same thing.
“It was basically an agreed upon realignment,” he said. “We already have two Japanese import groups in Honda and Nissan and believe Hyundai will be a great addition.”
Hyundai is a South Korean manufacturer with a huge factory on the south side of Montgomery, Alabama.
Asked if the loss of GMC trucks might have an impact on his group, Barron said he feels the Nissan trucks — the Titan and Frontier — will be able to take up the slack nicely. He also said Hyundai is considering a truck for its future lineups but that would be several years down the road.
Honda also offers the Ridgeline, a mid-sized truck, in its product mix.
Welborn said the deal means that Riverside Auto Group is the sole GMC dealer in the Rome and Cartersville markets.