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Longview Honda dealership has big plans for new facility

By Richard Yeakley
April 6, 2013 at 10 p.m.

When Fenton Honda opens late this year, its new Longview location could be the largest Honda dealership in East Texas and one of the largest in the auto dealer's 15 stores in two states.

"We will be the leader of the pack, as far as the Honda line. There will be no need to head east or head west. You will have everything you need, a metro-sized store," said Harry Fisher, new car sales manager at the dealership. "Our goal is to have the best selection, the largest selection of new Hondas and certified Hondas in East Texas."

Tyler-based Fenton Motor Group, which purchased the former Brew Honda in 2012, is moving the dealership from its longtime location on South Street to 9.5 acres at the intersection of Eastman Road and Loop 281. Construction is underway on a new 60,000-square-foot building and car lot, said Aaron Mewbourn, who oversees new properties for the group.

The company hopes to be operating out of the new facility by Christmas, Fisher said.

"Our inventory now is about 100 cars. We expect maybe 250 to 300 new cars in stock (at the new location)," Fisher said. "We will have a full line of every car that Honda offers with a good availability - every color - instead of limited to a few of each one. It's both a buyers' and sellers' dream."

In addition to new vehicles, Fenton also is planning a used-car lot to include another 250 vehicles. The location also will include expanded facilities for work on import cars and Fenton Honda's free-oil-change-for-life incentive.

The decision to place the new dealership at Eastman Road and Loop 281 came out of a study of traffic counts and a feeling the city is moving in that direction.

"There is absolutely nothing wrong with where we are except we have already outgrown it. We are servicing more cars; this facility just won't handle the volume," Fisher said of the current dealership and its 15,000-square-foot building. "We looked at the amount of rooftops that are being built in that direction."

City spokesman Shawn Hara said city data confirmed more retail development is occurring on the northeast side of Longview, along with some residential development.

"We have definitely seen that," he said. "That doesn't mean the city isn't growing in other directions, but there we definitely have seen retail growth."

Fisher and Mewbourn declined to comment on the estimated cost of the new facility. Mostly earthwork was being done this past week, and no building permit had yet been issued.

Mewbourn said Fenton purchased the land, while it has been leasing its facility on South Street.

By the time it opens, the property will be Fenton Motor Group's second-largest dealership, Mewbourn said.

"Mesquite might still be larger, but it will be a big dealership for us," he said of the Longview location, adding that it will compete with Honda dealers in Tyler, Shreveport and Texarkana.

Fenton Motor Group is made up of 15 dealerships in Oklahoma and Texas with corporate headquarters in Tyler.

In Oklahoma, the dealership has stores in Oklahoma City, Del City, Ada, Ardmore, McAlester and Poteau.

Texas locations include Dallas, Pampa, Mesquite and Dumas.

Its dealerships represent a variety of brands other than Honda. They include Chevrolet, GMC, Cadillac, Buick, Ford, Lincoln, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Hyundai and Nissan.

The move will complete the separation of Longview's Honda dealership from its ties to the auto-dealing family that brought the imports to Longview.

As Brew Honda, the dealership has been at 519 W. South St. since 1968. When Fenton purchased it, it was with plans to find and build a new location to grow the business.

It also marked a big change for the Houston family, the dealership's former owner.

The sale in February 2012 marked the first time since 1953 the Brew Houston family had not been involved in the new car sales business in Longview.

Founded as Brew Pontiac, the business began at High Street and Marshall Avenue, a corner now occupied by a Taco Bell restaurant. The dealership later sold the Pontiac business and added the Honda line. It moved to South Street in 1968.



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